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Crocodile414

Die Kleine Albulabahn - RhB HOm

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Hello,

 

I've been an RM web member for some time now and haven't really shared anything about my layouts before. I've collected a reasonable amount of RhB HOm stock over several years and have now finally started a layout to run it on. 

 

Due to space and transport restrictions, it's relatively small and whilst I have completed 2 British OO layouts, this is my first foray into HOm and its associated differences such as overhead catenary. 

 

The layout is 8' long and about 4' wide with 2 scenic baseboards at the front and a traverser fiddle yard behind linked by skeleton corners. 

 

The track plan is not based on a particular location but is typical of one of the many rural stations found between Chur & St Moritz. 

 

Trackwork is all Peco. The boards are made almost entirely from Plywood. 

 

Hopefully I'll be able to make steady progress and share my work with you all. 

 

Here are a few pictures of the work so far. 

 

 

tracklaying 15th June 2019 (4).JPG

tracklaying 15th June 2019 (6).JPG

tracklaying 15th June 2019 (8).JPG

Corner 2 construction (1).JPG

corner construction (10).JPG

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You have made a great start!

 

nice timber work.

 

Looking forward to seeing how the layout progresses.

 

pete

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Ver nice! I would suggest that you seal the wood with varnish or similar to keep it stable before track and scenery. Mine was mdf (not recommended) and shrank when I moved to the USA - causing the track to buckle. All the moisture from ballasting and scenics also caused warping. Might not happen to you but why risk it when you have done such a professional job of the woodwork!

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Looking good, like that you are building the railway into the terrain. 

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On ‎17‎/‎06‎/‎2019 at 22:53, Salmotrutta said:

Ver nice! I would suggest that you seal the wood with varnish or similar to keep it stable before track and scenery. Mine was mdf (not recommended) and shrank when I moved to the USA - causing the track to buckle. All the moisture from ballasting and scenics also caused warping. Might not happen to you but why risk it when you have done such a professional job of the woodwork!

I'll certainly be painting the outer surfaces for a more aesthetically pleasing finish. Fortunately the layout room is dry and well insulated. No more progress this week - I'm currently waiting for some more bits and pieces but as soon as there is something to report I'll post again. Many thanks to all for the kind comments.

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Wow! Impressive wood work and scope for spectacular scenery. Puts my efforts into the Flat Earth Club - my excuse is that my layout "Rosental" is on the valley floor of course! Is yours for private consumption or are you planning to exhibit it?

I'd go along with the recommendation to varnish the ply to seal and stabilise it. I have found that unvarnished birch ply stored in my garage seems to get covered in tiny black mould spots despite the garage being part of the house and the CH boiler location. 

Don't forget to leave enough ply beyond the trackwork to fix the catenary posts in place otherwise you will be sticking on extra bits.

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Thanks Talbotjohn.

 

This layout is being built for exhibition but I've no definitive deadline, I'm just going at my own pace although I hope it would be ready sometime in 2020 approximately. 

 

The layout was nearly built on flat boards but a very good friend convinced me an open frame would be particularly beneficial from a scenic perspective. The construction has been more involved but I'm really pleased with how they've come out - needless to say said friend has helped significantly with the planning and construction so far. 

 

We've drawn a full size plan on an old roll of wallpaper and spent several hours on the kitchen floor working out the positions for all the catenary posts and masts and the various lengths of overhead wire. Touch wood it all translates to the real thing correctly! 

 

The next job (besides painting the boards) is to finish the tracklaying on the two corners and on to the traverser fiddle yard complete with brass rod and tube at each end to secure and line each track up. After that I need to build and mount the control panel. 

 

The point motors all arrived this week, I've got my CDU and I'm going to try the Gaugemaster GM500 Universal Relay Switch for switching the frogs and providing route setting LED's on the panel. 

 

Unfortunately, I won't have time to do any more work on the layout for at least a week. I'll do my best to update my progress ASAP. 

 

Thanks for the kind words and encouragement. 

 

Nick

 

 

 

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Hi 

I used 2" lengths of 20mm x 20mm aluminium angle to carry the tracks across to and from the turntables of the fiddle yards. It is a lot more robust than normal rail ends and easier to align for smooth passage. I use simple brass folded clips to both secure the sides and make the electrical contact across the gap. Several of my friends use a similar system on their P4 layouts.

The aluminium angle is set to gauge and stuck with Evo Stik  to a square of 5mm thick perspex. I sandwich in a piece of 60 thou plasticard under the aluminium strip to allow for flange depth. When the Evo Stik has gone off I drill and tap for 8BA countersunk head bolts to hold everything securely. The inner faces have notches to accomodate the rail ends. it is packed up to align with the rail tops and secured to the ply base board with two screws that allow some fine adjustment. It is a lot of cutting filing drilling and tapping to make these units but they worked fine over two half days of pre exhibition testing and through a one day show. The only thing I had to do was squeeze one of the brass clips a bit tighter at one point to ensure electrical continuity. (yes that is a IKEA folding chair - I hadn't made the trestles when this photo was taken!)

Regards,

John.

IMG_1387.JPG.8e0ab6be29f87acf0d86030a3cc9f0ec.JPGSee photo.

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Looking good, don’t be worried by catenary but it’s worth getting a few bits to work out roughly where the posts will go before you end up digging holes in scenery after ;) Guess how I know ;) 

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Hi All,

 

Sorry for the lack of progress lately - life outside of model railways has been rather busy but I've managed to get the missing bits I needed now and finally had some free evenings to get stuck in.

 

The biggest progress is there is now a complete circuit of track, albeit unwired at present. 

I've managed to install half the point motors on the scenic section which have been tested. The last few nights have been spent laying the track around the non-scenic corners and onto the traverser to complete the first road in the fiddle yard. It looks like I might just be able to squeeze 9 tracks which is better than I hoped for. 

 

Not sure whether to complete the fiddle yard now or crack on with the wiring?! A start has also been made on the control panel. 

 

I'll do my best to provide further updates ASAP.

 

Nick

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DSC_0565.JPG

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3 hours ago, Crocodile414 said:

 

Not sure whether to complete the fiddle yard now or crack on with the wiring?! A start has also been made on the control panel. 

 

 

I would vote for getting the wiring progressed and a train running as you may well have to do some fetteling with the track before laying any more. If you have a steam outline G 4/5 use that as test mule, the 8 coupled wheels will show up any issue or defect far more glaringly that a modern electric. If it runs OK try a Tm 2/2 tractor as they are the next most fussy unit. 

Edited by JimFin
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You are clearly making very good progress. All this and you still find time to help organise a model railway show in Penarth! I am impressed.

As an aside I recently asked one of my Swiss Railway Society friends what a RhB loco horn sounded like - he smiled and told me that hey have an air operated high pitched whistle......

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On the subject of test locos I have just got myself a Bemo HOm RhB Krokodil. I have noticed that the long wheelbase six wheel drive units are more sensitive to drag(?) when passing through turnouts so unlike the Bo Bo electrics you really have to drive it to maintain a constant speed across the layout. Electrical pickup of course is not a problem and watching the rods in motion is rather fascinating.....

IMG_2061.JPG

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You might find it’s not the loco but the Peco frogs. My HSB 2-10-2’s bump through the frogs, there’s a slight tight spot at the nose that means they bump the nose and jump slightly, so I run a file or the slitting disc through both routes and they run smooth as anything ;) 

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On ‎20‎/‎07‎/‎2019 at 15:22, Talbotjohn said:

You are clearly making very good progress. All this and you still find time to help organise a model railway show in Penarth! I am impressed.

As an aside I recently asked one of my Swiss Railway Society friends what a RhB loco horn sounded like - he smiled and told me that hey have an air operated high pitched whistle......

 

Visible progress is now slowing down a little as I get into the wiring which will take many further weeks. I do like the old style whistles although I think the GE 4/4 III has a more modern type horn?? 

 

Currently the fiddle yard and corners have now been completely laid. I could physically fit 9 tracks on the traverser but when you include all the joins for the brass rod and tube it becomes too crowded so I have settled for 7, one of which will be split in half for the railcar and a maintenance vehicle or a TM tractor. 

 

The control panel has been hung at one end of the layout where the operator will be based but contains no wiring as of yet! 

 

I've spent this weekend fiddling with the Gaugemaster GM500 units for the frog polarity and route indication. Despite following the diagram it didn't work. However, after reading numerous posts in another section about people bypassing diodes and resistors and removing the CDU, I decided to try another unit just to see if the first unit was faulty...…..it was! The second unit I wired in worked perfectly and I've also made a temporary test rig to ensure both the frog and the LED changes, which they do. 

 

I'll keep going but there may not be much to show as it's all D plugs, wires and toggle switches for the next few weeks! 

 

Nick

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Yes the 4/4iii has a horn but it’s a special high tone so it doesn’t start avalanches, that’s why higher pitch whistles were used too :) 

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Really impressive too date and the station area track work looks spot on.  I've a book somewhere with the track plans of all RhB stations. If you wish i candig it out and send you the details. Signalling on the RhB is also much simpler than with many other operater. Looking forward to watching it develop and then seeing in the flesh.

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Thanks for the kind comments and offer but I already have the track plans book. Signals will be a basic 2 aspect at each end of the station. Once it's all tested I can move on to the next stage! 

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Hi Nick

Going to 7 tracks on the fiddle yard is a good move. Sometimes you need to get your fingers and thumb down between the lines of stock in the fiddle yard to deal with say a minor derailment etc. Nothing worse than knocking adjacent stock off the the rails by accident because there wasn't enough space to work in. One thing I learnt from my other hobby building radio control off shore i.c. power boats is that things need to be both robust and accessible ( in the event something should break or fail) and this applies to exhibition layouts too.

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the explanation why RhB locos have high pitched whistles and now high pitched horns. I would never have realised it was to do with avoiding avalanches. That said I think some of the early Southern Railway electric multiple units had air operated whistles too. I suspect that was because in those days  the railway workers were used to listening for  steam loco whistles. 

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Hi John, 

 

On reflection, 9 would've been too tight, I'm pleased with the spacing on 7 tracks. 

 

I've now got 3 motors and their associated relays installed, so need to do the viaduct board next. It might be possible then with a few temporary wires to run a complete circuit, albeit through 1 loop only and with no isolation until the panel is wired in. 

 

Cheers, Nick 

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Hi All, 

 

Nothing spectacular to report - as per my previous post I'm now fully engrossed in wiring. 

 

On the viaduct board all of the point motors and track sections are in, as is the wiring for the signal. Unfortunately one of the GM500 relay units isn't working properly but will be replaced ASAP. I've also started routing everything through to the D plug ready to go across the board join. 

 

I've made some progress with the panel - most of the switches and LED's are in but there are still a few more to go. The wiring for the handheld controller has also been installed today. 

 

Here are a few pictures to show what I've been up to - more updates soon (hopefully!). 

 

Cheers, Nick 

panel partially complete.JPG

D plug support.JPG

wiring.JPG

test rig.JPG

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Its looking very good, nice control panel, its one of those jobs you just have to work through I am afraid. If you have not already, I suggest you keep a book with the wiring diagram and colour codes of the wires, makes troubleshooting down the road a lot easier. Once it it all complete and fully working, some spiral wrap binding for the wire bundles retaining them back to the woodwork is worthwhile to prevent wires being accidentally caught or pulled when the layout is being moved about or you are working underneath. 

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Wiring diagrams have already been recorded and filed. There is a colour code to all the wires as well. I've run out of a few colours so am awaiting delivery at the moment. As soon as I have proved everything works I'll go back underneath with the cable clips and cable ties and secure it all to the framework to stop anything flapping around in transit. 

 

A friend of mine drew the control panel and laminated it for me - it's stuck down with double sided tape. I'm just waiting for a few more switches at the moment although I've put a few more lengths of wire inside today. It also needs a bit of edging around the top, just to finish it off.

 

One of my GE 4/4 III locos has also returned to working order following the delivery of a missing crucial cog in the drivetrain inside the bogie, and a new driveshaft. With a bit of luck it won't be long before it can have a decent run. 

 

Cheers

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HI Nick

Pleased to see you are making good progress. That Control Panel really looks the business. It's amazing how much coloured electrical wire a relatively small layout consumes! Bit sad that you have to buy more on line rather than from your local model shop though.

It is really important to get that first circuit of track wired up so you can see something run right round the layout as a sort of reward for all your effort so far. It boosts your morale no end ready to continue the work.....I look forward to coming back to Wales to see it when you exhibit it.  Do you have a target completion date in mind?

Cheers

John.

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Hi John, 

 

It's getting very close now, I have everything I need and both boards are wired. I've just got to get everything back to the panel. I'm hoping I might be ready for a test run this weekend if I can make steady progress in the evenings after work. 

 

I've no specific target completion but hoping it will be ready for exhibition sometime in 2020. 

 

As soon as the trains are running I'll try and record a short video and post it to YouTube. 

 

Thanks everyone for all the encouragement. 

 

More progress soon! 

 

Cheers, Nick 

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