Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Starting The Yard Work

Hello everybody I have started to lay the track for the yard and have decided to use cork roadbed to give the track a much lower profile as most yards do and before you ask coke zero is not paying me for product placement I use them as weights.
The track below is a bit out of alignment because I prewire the points and need a bit of play to get them o fit into the holes I drill for them, I will fix them when I glue them down.

The shunt lead on the left, mainline with cement sleepers the industrial lead in the middle and the loco terminal on the right wired but nor fixed down yet.   
What a bloody mess
 Finally have a great Christmas or whatever you choose to celebrate at this time of year and have a great 2014.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Don't Use Speaker Wire For Track Feeders and Maintaining Momentum

The hardest part of constructing the layout I have found is maintaining the momentum of the construction process, most of the time it is due to the wait on materials to arrive from overseas because I point blank refuse to pay nearly thirty dollars each for Peco code 55 points here. I also made a fundamental mistake when I used speaker wire as track feeders, luckily only the helix and two sections of track are affected and can be easily fixed. The track plan is evolving as the track goes down the main line will stay the same but the sidings will be different.

 I used the excuse to check the shunt lead to get out some rolling stock and found it will take twelve modern wagons and two locos if needed. The engine servicing area will be to the right of the wagons.
 The power for the tracks are soldered to the bottom of the rails.
 The main line is the one with cement sleepers in the middle and the yard lead is the track on the left, the yard lead also crosses the main line to the engine service facility and other industries. None of the track is glued down yet to allow a bit of movement when laying the next section. 
This photo is of a mock up of one of the industries serviced by the line leading from the engine terminal, I was thinking along the lines of a frac sand transfer facility and maybe some protestors.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Laying The First Layout Track

I have been preparing points in the last week and now its time to lay some track on the layout, the main line will be Peco code 80 with cement sleepers and the yard will be atlas code 55.
The pain in the ass bit is the fact that there are no Atlas code 55 points available on the planet at the time of construction so I have to mate the atlas track to peco code 55 points.
As you can see in the photo below the Peco track has a different rail profile to the Atlas track, after a bit of fiddling I worked out that if you put Atlas code 55 track connectors on the Peco points then rest the Atlas track on top of them then the rail heights will match, then you just need to solder them.

I am using Trackrite foam underlay to give the track and ballast a good profile, it fits snugly and helps hold the joints especially the insulation gaps in gauge. You can get a variety of profiles as you can see on the package below and is the same thickness as most of the cork roadbed avaliable. Which is good as I have chosen to use it to support the points with cork.
Here it is the first section of track on the layout woo hoo.
Just a shot to show the difference in size of the track.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Making Peco Points DCC Happy

Thanks to the internet I have been researching how to make Peco code 55 N scale points DCC friendly, there are plenty of wiring diagrams but not many photos so I have put some together to show how dummies like me have done it.
The photo above shows where I have cut the rails to isolate the frog from the switch rails you need to do this because the switch rails pass power to the frog depending on which way the rails are set.

To make the cut as small as possible I made it with a fine saw.

To make sure electrical contact to the switch rails is not reliant on them touching the outside main rails I cut some of the plastic away from the bottom and soldered some jumper wires between the two.

The jumpers are in place and I have soldered a green wire to the frog so the polarity to it can be changed.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Track Plan Top Deck V1.0

I have gone a different route with the track plan for the top level to make it easier to plan for operations and traffic flow. I decided to measure the available space and draw a line diagram first, it helps me with the placement of turnouts and length of yard tracks and position of buildings. I will then place some track on the layout to make sure that it fits and most importantly the points are clear of the supports under the deck, I found a image posted on a forum that has all the peco points on it so all you have to do is print it an hey presto you have all the points you need for track planning. I had a look on the peco website and it also has printable diagrams for all its track pieces.
Below V1 is V2 the modified plan after doing a test run with some flex track and peco points and the main difference is the main line and shunt line have been swapped around to ease the curve of the mainline at the west end of the yard and the reduction of the number of through tracks in the engine terminal.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lower the Drawbridge

After a summer break I am back into the layout room and starting to figure out what will go where on the top deck of the layout. Although the bench work is not finished I need to pull the lead out and get a plan together because I can't complete it until I put a set of points in place that will be more difficult to reach if the bench work is finished. I have also been doing the drawbridges to link the levels together.

 I put some edges on the top of the helix leading to the drawbridge to prevent derailments hitting the floor.

 The outside track on the helix will cross on the bottom level and I have added a section to carry it.
 The drawbridges are made with 12mm plywood and braced with 20 x 40 mm timber to stop them bending,            they also act as guides then lowered.

As a bonus here are some videos I shot while on a rail fanning trip to the north of the state.