Monday, January 13, 2014

Trackwork Progress.....

Progress is continuing although we have a number of issues to sort out.

We have laid the plywood track base from the right hand wall around to and including the Durango Depot area. It took a considerable effort for us to make sure the curves were true and the plywood was level.

The plywood track base is being added to the baseboard framework. Here we are looking from the location of the Durango Depot towards the right hand wall.

The main line curves around at the right hand wall heading towards the back of The Shed.

The Durango Depot area where the main line curves back down the centre of The Shed on the peninsula. The footprint for the Durano Station building is the piece of 3 mm MDF on the left. It is huge! 46" X 11"

We again have gone through the hiatus of track standards. I printed out another S-7 Standard from the NMRA and some measurements seem to differ to what we had previously. Our concern included the fact that the main line track would be entering the Durango Depot platform on a curve. How much clearance to the platform should we provide? We opted to remeasure one of our K-37 locos to ascertain the widest point using Vernier calipers. This happens to be the window shades over the cab windows which comes out at 68 mm (say 70 mm). So, as we have done previously we have settled on 3 1/2 inches between track centres which should give us a 1/2 inch gap between the cab shades on two K-37 locos passing each other.

Track laying the main line using Brunel Hobbies and Tracksetts templates.

We have settled on this clearance yet again. The minimum curve on our main line is 36 inches so as the main line will be the outer loop into Duirango Depot that curve is a shade over 39 inches and we have made the inner (passing loop) 36 inches. Today we marked out the track centres from the right hand wall through to half way along the Durango Depot. We have now laid the track from the right hand wall as far as the turnout for the main line/passin g loop into Durango Depot.

Raymond has tested this track with a K-36 and everything runs smoothly.

K-36 No 481 stands at the end of track that has just been laid.

Over the past couple of weekends we have also been working on the locomotive depot for the upper terminus along the left-hand wall.

Start of the locomotive depot being built at the end of track on the top level on the left hand wall. The turntable facility is needed to turn the tender engines for their return back around the layout as well as providing some accommodation for our many locos.

The DC Walthers HO Scale130 ft turntable pit has been installed and we have started working out the track requirements.

The turntable required is 65 feet long to allow for the K-36 and K-37 Class 2-8-2 locomotives. It is actually a Walthers HO Scale 130 ft turntable (65 ft in O Scale)

Being a HO Scale turntable our big engines would plough out the handrails and turntable cabin so here is the turntable bridge following the removal of the hanrails and cabin. We will be adding new wider decking as befits the requirements of our locomotives.

The turntable bridge uses Code 83 rail so we visited Austral Modelcraft last week and purchased a box of Peco Code 83 Flex track together with four lengths of adapter track Code 100 to Code 83. We also had a long discussion with Ray and a fellow modeller, Arthur, who both have had experience with the Walthers turntable. From the advice they gave us it appears that the older DC turntable will fit in very well and we need not have worried about any issues with DCC. The newer DCC turntable however, is another matter. It apparently is very susceptible to losing its memory regarding track settings when selecting on of the roads off the turntable. Each road has to be programmed twice (once for each end of the bridge). If there is a power interuption for example when a short circuit occurs or when you turn off the main power to the layout at the end of an operating session you have to reprogram every track again. We have not progressed the track layout on this section while we try to work out how we can overcome this issue with the DCC turntable. Ray/Arthur suggested having a separate DCC power supply just for the turntable - which we will do. There are several separate power circuits in The Shed for the layout and other uses. Near the DCC turntable there are four power points on a separate circuit to everything else. I am thinking we will leave those four power points on all the time even when we shut down power to the layout. We can then plug the DCC power supply into one of these power points and the power will be on all the time. Thunderstorms will be a problem though and will probably fry the DCC chips. We are still considering our options.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

But Wait Ther's More.....

Both Raymond and I had discussed what our objectives were for the Christmas Break. We had decided that we needed to start work on the locomotive depot planned for the upper terminus before we continued with the plywood base and track laying on the top deck of the centre modules.

The upper and lower decks at right angles to the right hand walls ready for the plywood track supports and track laying to commence

The centre peninsula also clearly showing the overhang extension of the framing outside the footprint of the standard layout space.

Following instructions suggested by Darren we had made the 4 X 1 supports extend beyond the footprint of the rest of the modules as it was on this front corner we were planning to install the Raggs to Riches Durango Depot kit as a feature that could be easily seen when firt entering The Shed. The Durango Depot is some 48 inches long and 11 inches wide. I also wanted to have an extra space in front of the depot for scenery. With this extension of width for the baseboard framing we needed to know that the walkway between this corner and the two proposed (upper and lower) locomotive depots on the left hand wall would be sufficient. I am hoping for preferably 3 feet.

The corner modules again showing the overhang outside the layout footprint. These extensions will be shortened to suit the requirements for the Durango Depot on the upper level and also keeping in mind the need to maintain sufficient accessway between this module and the lower level locomotive depot on the left hand wall

Now we knew that the upper level locomotive depot along the left hand wall would not be a problem as it would be no wider than 2 ft 6 ins and narrowing down to only about 6 inches wide towards the entry door to The Shed. The lower level could be a potential problem, however. I planned to have an 18 inch wide accessway between the left hand wall and the lower locomotive depot (under the upper level loco depot). The lower level loco depot like that on the upper level would incorporate a Walthers HO Scale 130 ft turntable which equates to a 65 ft turntable in O Scale and therefore big enough to accomodate those large Colorado narrow gauge engines of the K-36 and K-37 Class. Obviously the bridges on these turntables would have to be modified to accomodate the widths of these locomotives. The turntable and locomotive depot on the bottom level is also intended to be a layout feature on entry into The Shed as it will be outside the footprint of the upper level locomotive depot..

The upper level locomotive depot baseboard under construction.

The upper level locomotive depot baseboard under construction. The open space underneath will be occupied by the lower locomotive depot extending on from the baseboard framing that can be seen on the lower right.

The Walthers HO Scale 130 ft turntable in position for the upper locomotive depot. The turntable bridge has handrails and a cabin for HO Scale locomotives. These will have to be removed for the O Scale locomotives and new basswood decking, cabin and handrails fitted to suit the "big" engines.
I had purchased this Walthers turntable some years ago as I had always planned to have a locomotive depot and turntable capable of handling the K-36 and K-37 Class locomotives. Now we would need two of these turntables as another would be required for the lower deck. Raymond gave me the second 130 ft turntable for Christmas with this one in a blue box and clearly labelled as being fitted with DCC as distinct from my original which came in a red box and was DC only but was supposedly "DCC convertible".

We have since investigated the DCC Conversion Kit and found their RRP is almost $200 and that they are very difficult to install. We have decided that in the long run it will be best that we purchase yet another DCC turntable (in the blue box) at about $450 and since the original has not been used we will try to sell it "as new". We obviously will not get back our original outlay.

The turntable bridge is fitted with Code 83 Rail so this again is a problem and we have decided not to lay any track on the new loco depot module until we purchase a box of Code 83 Peco FlexTrack and a number of Code100/Code83 Adapter pieces. We will us the adapter pieces for the two tracks leading omto and off the turntable connecting to the main track and all dead-end tracks off the turntable will be laid in Code 83. Austral Modelcraft is open again this weekend after Ray and Aileen have had their Christmas break so we will, hopefully, be able to purchase our Code 83 requirements and also our third (!!!!!) 130 ft turntable. If we can purchase our Code 83 requirements we should be able to lay the track in the loco depot area before the end of the weekend.