Saturday, February 27, 2010

Good Progress

I had been putting off a few things like moving the sprinkler system control box, adding more overhead lights and power for the lights for the lower level and power for accessories. I finally just had to get the job done.
Moving the sprinkler box was not a big deal. The biggest decision was trying to figure out where to put switches to control the power under the layout. The easiest was to put a light switch nearest to the receptacles. This would have meant squeezing into a place behind the layout to turn off power. The hardest and most expensive was to put a switch near the entrance to the room. I agonized about this for awhile and I decided that the switch by the door would make the most sense after all the work was over.
I also added the power for what I believe are the last of the overhead lights. The light level looks pretty good now. I'm sure I'll have to adjust slightly as the rest of the benchwork is completed.
All in all good progress was made today.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Couldn't put it off any longer

I finally had to move the sprinkler system controls. They were in the way of upper level staging and I left it there to do later. Later arrived. I couldn't put up the staging yard until I moved it. The controls are now out of the way and I only have 1 receptacle to put in and I can put in the staging yard.
I bought some rope lights and tested them under the benchwork and light is the wrong color and not bright enough. I also tried a LED light bar and I liked the looks. They are pretty expensive though. I have one other idea that I was shown to try. We see what happens.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Staging to represent the old Upper Level

I can make the staging work according to AutoCad. What I didn't count on was the tortoise machines under the yard at Searsport, which will be above the staging. We could have a problem with the clearance under the yard. Since I don't have Searsport completely figured out, I'm not if I'll be able to work it out.
I originally decided to use a staging yard with a return loop to minimize the handling of trains. Since I have a wye on the mainline I decided that it could be a stub ended staging. I could back the trains out onto the wye between sessions and turn them, just like I did on the old layout.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Odds and Ends

I have finished re-spacing the track to allow for signals in all of the towns. Most of the sidings have been done.
I took the time while glue was drying to try a figure out if the staging that would represent my old upper level would work. I spent some time in AutoCad attempting to arrange a four track staging yard with a return loop. I am also trying to fit a small passing siding and a wye to the main line for this staging. The turns to get to staging might have to be a little tighter than I would like, but I had that same problem on the last layout.
I am also trying to decide if I want to widen the yard at Portland. Some of this comes from having to re-space everything and wondering if an extra track would be good.

Decisions... Decisions.

Monday, February 15, 2010

It's Disappointing when....

you realize that something you have always done, doesn't work with the new direction you're heading.
I have always kept my track spacing towards the minimum. It looked better to me. I never had a problem with this arrangement, until now. I am going add signaling down the road and I was doing all the prep work needed as I was laying track, or so I thought. During phase 1 I built two towns and a yard with 2" spacing, which worked fine, until I decided that I would rather have code 83 and use all my code 100 for staging. While I was changing out this track and turnouts a brick hit me in the head (figuratively speaking) and I realized I hadn't allowed the track separation for signals. There was a short scramble to find out what my options were and now I'm in the process of changing the track spacing in the yard. The other town might have to be different because the track is glued down.
I also made two staging yards at 2" spacing. I will be changing the spacing on the return tracks so I can get signals installed on those. The other eight tracks won't get signals. The last town I was working on in Phase two had a wider spacing just due to dumb luck. It should be OK.
From here on out the track spacing will be correct. Time will tell what other surprise will come up and bite me.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cumberland Mills

Just thought I would post a picture of the north end of Cumberland Mills. This is the first town out of lower level staging. Portland would be around the corner to the left.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I never have everything I need...

so I just have to plug away the best I can. I made an order for turnouts and I was even thinking ahead. I ordered replacement turnouts for the made yard swapover to code 83. I also had to get a code 100 turnouts to do the upper level staging. The order is being held until next week when the code 100 turnout comes in. Unfortunately that is the turnout I need the least. The rest I could have used yesterday. So, I put down a lot of code 83 from lower level staging around most of the lower level leaving spaces where the turnouts are needed. I could lay all the track and then cutout for the turnouts, but I just don't want to waste all that track.
One of my other problem areas is the towns. I can place industries easy enough, but trying to think of the whole scene is where I have my problems. So I stand in front of my town and play chess with buildings trying to come up with a good combination of city scenes and industries. I look through my building kits and see if any of them will fit.
I purchased enough sheet cork for upper staging, but now I'm short on Atlas re-railer tracks. I go to the local stores thinking that is pretty basic part and nobody had any. Maybe I can get that added to my order before they ship it out.
There is a cinder block post in the room that the benchwork is built into. It turns out that a Walthers low relief buildings will fit right in front of it. The only thing is the track may not be able to go there, but I'm sure I can make some kind of scene to hide the post.
I'll post pictures later when I have some completed scenes.