Thursday, December 31, 2009

Backdrops and Benchwork

I had to clean up the layout and shop area because I was having trouble moving around. Part of that work was to throw away what I knew I wouldn't use. There were still a few scenicked pieces of the old layout. I kept what I could and threw away the rest.

Another part of the cleanup was to try and get some of the big pieces of material cut down to size so I could get it out of the way. I cut up the big sheets of hardboard and installed quite a bit of backdrop. I normally like the hardboard that is finished on both sides, however I have found that they don't flex quite as much as the kind that is finished only on one side. This means that a few of mine have broken in the corners because I flexed them too much. Unfortunately I can't find the other kind right now.

I still had a few big 1x4's and 2x4's to use and get out of my way. I decided to make a test case for the last piece of benchwork This takes up a lot of the remaining floor so I made some brackets to hold it, so it can be removed so I can get around the room. I'm a little worried that this is too big, so I'll leave it up while I get a feel for if this is the right thing to do.

This piece of benchwork will allow me to raise the trackwork from the drill in the left center of the picture to the drill in center of the picture, by coming toward the end of the benchwork and turning around and going back. There will be a town on the left as you come toward the screen and a yard on the right as you head back. You might be able to see that I'll have to make one more turn around this middle section to get to the upper level and then exit to the right.

I couldn't keep South always to the left and North always to the right. I was able to place a river crossing at the upper level, so that geographically the operator will always be on the water side of the tracks.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Layout Overview

I had a problem with a large semi-permanent cabinet that would prevent me from adding the elongated helix I was planning. I finally just had to tough it out and move the offending cabinet. It took a very large shoe horn to get the cabinet out. I just about made it impossible with my lower ceiling and all the junk in the way. The job is now done and the extension can be made, after I ensure myself that all the big pieces that need to go into the room are in. It will be difficult to add large pieces of anything after the extentio n is installed.

We will now take a short tour of the layout area.

The picture below shows the staging to the left and the helix in the center. There will be one more extension coming out from the helix toward the camera. It will be almost as long as the staging area.

This picture shows you walking into the layout just past staging. The Helix is on the right.

Continuing around the corner we come across the first town area on the lower left. The helix is still to the right.

Now we open up into the area where the first phase is.

Now we turn around and look toward phase 2 from the phase 1 section.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The walls are connected to the helix

I have been busy with a couple of aspects of building the layout. The benchwork around the walls has been connected to the helix area. I have been struggling with the three levels and where everything will go so that the levels aren't on top of each other.
The helix has not been completed. I have an eight foot section to put in where Searsport Yard will be and of course there are cabinets in the way. I'm trying to figure out where to put them. This has not been easy. I'm almost thinking of changing the plan once again to something smaller to give me more people room.
I have a piece of plywood set for a portion of the yard. It seemed that the original height, was just too high for switching without a stool. There isn't enough headroom for standing on a stool.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Grades have been set

I spent the last two days setting the grades for the railroad. I started by loosening the risers for the lowering of the approach to the south end of Rigby Yard. I lowered it as far as I could to connect up the lower level all the way to staging. The grade is at the most 2%, but mostly around 1.5%.
The next big event that I finally just had to do, was lower all of the plywood, for the lower level of Phase 1, about 1.5". This was not fun at all. It is now complete.
The upper level has been set from staging to about half way around the layout. The rest of the upper benchwork can now be lowered about 1.5". This will make the upper level towns easier to access. Once this is done we'll move onto the helix area and connect both of them together.
The lower level will rise about 6" from staging to Rigby Yard. It will level off for two towns and then start the rise to the upper level. That rise will be about 17", where it will level off for 1 town. We will rise and lower again 1" as we travel to the next town. Once we leave that town we will drop down about 3" to Staging.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Plywood Subroadbed

I took 48 feet of plywood and turned it into 80 feet of sub-roadbed. All of the straight sections along the walls, with the exception of staging are ready to have the supports added and the grades adjusted. It is now time for all those pieces of scrap that were in a pile in the floor to be put to use. That should give me more room to move.
I'm anticipating having to lower everything that has already been done so I can keep the proper spacing between levels. This is to also keep the upper level from being to high.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ceiling is progressing & Code change

The ceiling is coming along and it won't be long before I can divert my attention to laying track. Speaking of track, I have decided to change to code 83 except for hidden track and staging.
I ordered a lot of flextrack and cork roadbed. I also ordered a pile of turnouts. I also snuck in a F3A/B unit with sound. The turnouts arrived today. The track should be here by the time I'm ready to go.