Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Thanks Jack :) I have been enjoying seeing the progress on your layout as well.

 

This weekend, I have been getting the layout ready for a virtual demonstration. I have resolved a number of small issues, including a derailment problem in one of the helixes that seemed to come out of nowhere(!) and continuing the programme of ensuring the wagons towards the front of each train are properly weighted, and (touch wood), it seems to be running well.

 

I have also been doing some "research" by watching the superb "Big Boy Collection" by Pentrex, which features a program covering all 24 locomotives and "Last of the Giants", which was a publicity film shot by UP in the last year of Big Boy operations on Sherman Hill. One of the things that it showed was that not all eastbound trains crossed from Track 1 to Track 2 at the Junction; indeed, there was footage of Big Boy hauled trains both using the crossing but also streaking through at full speed on Track 1. I have therefore configured iTrain to allow this to happen but under normal operation, the trains will switch tracks. However, it has allowed me to stage the shot below of #4022 on an eastbound manifest freight on Track 1 passing in front of the recently finished rockface:

 

71.jpg.8337f5ccdf926d9811446ca6dde741d3.jpg

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

I spent the past week concentrating on getting the layout ready for an online presentation to a group of friends on Saturday evening. The effort paid off and for more than an hour, it ran almost faultlessly and at one time, there were five trains on the move simultaneously. The two faults that did occur where an uncoupling and a derailment. I have tweaked the couplers on the miscreant wagons, although there did not appear to be an awful lot wrong with them. The derailment I'll come to later.

 

I did also progress the scenry on the middle level in preparation for the evening, which means that I have now completed the basic ground cover around Dale Junction; this is how it looks from the far corner of the railway room:

 

73.jpg.a6be72ba08ccf8d85d34c0c6763eebc2.jpg

 

Above sees Mikado #2483 leading the breakdown train through the Junction. I have also created a little scenic feature in the form a "Gricer's Camp" next to the Hermosa tunnel portals, below:

 

72.jpg.3d99533e53bfe8d688272bbd163fb36a.jpg

 

Today, I have tackled a job I've been meaning to do for a while and that was assemble three kits of Rix telegraph poles below:

 

74.jpg.fdbf3c418da04a90e979fa300c00abe6.jpg

 

I don't think it'll be enough for the whole layout but it's a start. Unfortunately, trying to source some more is proving difficult and they will probably need to come from the US, which given the changes in VAT rules could be problematic (to say nothing of the delivery charge). I may therefore wait until I have a larger order...

 

Finally, I have also built a scenic feature on the upper level in the form of a grade crossing:

 

75.jpg.31ddf0238e65c303c50e4c01d89252b5.jpg

 

The crossing is being guarded by "wig-wag" style crossbucks made by NJ International. However, they seem to be back-to-front, if you see what I mean, with the horizontal arm over the road... But it's how they came so I assume it must be correct!  The next job on the upper level will be get the track ballasted, something I expect is going to take quite a while!

 

Installing this crossing has led me to also figure out why I got the derailment... The leading wheelset of the rear power bogie of #4022 rides up on to the central plate of the crossing, so I am pretty certain the back-to-back of at least one set of wheels is wrong. I will look at this in due course.

 

All-in-all, an excellent weekend :) 

 

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

Today. I've constructed a pair of crossbucks for the grade crossing and moved the wig-wags to the other side of the road, as shown below:

 

76.jpg.0207410c5f9312b23ccd7df6e7fb0f94.jpg

 

I've also put a couple of cars in place but they're going to need drivers!  I don't know if this is now overkill, especially for a crossing in the middle of nowhere...  I'm wondering if wig-wags were only where there was a sidewalk?  In the longer term, I would like to get an animated crossing here, if it's correct for the period I model.

 

Also, I've put together a short video showing Challengers heading through Dale Junction, which I've uploaded to YouTube:

 

 

Enjoy :) 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ben, the grade crossing has the makings of a really nice ‘cameo’ scene.  I think there were examples of wig-wag signals in rural locations - I believe their electric power requirements were quite minimal.  I do wonder if, for your remote location, it’s unlikely there’d be two cars waiting at the crossing though: more likely just one truck, and most likely no vehicles at all.

 

Trying to visualise it, I realised I was finding it hard to imagine a grade crossing with no-one around, just because it’s something I never see (by definition!), but the signals would still operate.  
 

I imagine the road surface will look quite dusty and dirty too by the time you’ve finished blending it in with the rest of your scenery.  I really enjoy the short videos of trains passing - good to see the layout running, thank you for sharing them, Keith. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 24/02/2021 at 07:34, Keith Addenbrooke said:

Hi Ben, the grade crossing has the makings of a really nice ‘cameo’ scene.  I think there were examples of wig-wag signals in rural locations - I believe their electric power requirements were quite minimal.  I do wonder if, for your remote location, it’s unlikely there’d be two cars waiting at the crossing though: more likely just one truck, and most likely no vehicles at all.

 

Trying to visualise it, I realised I was finding it hard to imagine a grade crossing with no-one around, just because it’s something I never see (by definition!), but the signals would still operate.  
 

I imagine the road surface will look quite dusty and dirty too by the time you’ve finished blending it in with the rest of your scenery.  I really enjoy the short videos of trains passing - good to see the layout running, thank you for sharing them, Keith. 

 

H Keith.

 

Thank you :)

 

Interesting about wig-wags because as you say, they would need power. Sherman Hill became fully CTC in 1953 when Track 3 was opened, so power must have been made available along the route... Fair comment about the cars, although of course with the length of the trains, if you did get caught, you would be there a while! 

 

I will try to get some more videos shot as I do like them as well but I am taking an intentional rest from the layout apart from running the odd train. That said, I have worked out that I think I do have enough telegraph poles for the layout because according to a special edition of Model Railroader (that was all about the right-of-way), such poles are normally between 100' and 150' apart... If I set out the ones I have in stock using 40cm gaps (i.e. about about 115'), I do have enough for the whole of the upper level, and I only need a few for Dale Junction as the pole route was not directly adjacent to the track at the junction... A result, given the cost of having a pack or two sent from the States!

 

Cheers,

Ben

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

So some mixed results this weekend...

 

I have been wondering what to do with the second helix and, after considering a couple of ideas, I have decided the best plan is to scenic it along the same lines as the first helix. I enjoyed the rock face construction so much that I am going to have another go but on a grander scale. My intention at the moment is to have a crack at somewhere like Weber or Echo Canyon; obviously not a part of Sherman Hill but an interesting project. I therefore purchased some more 4mm plywood and 2x1 for framing, and set about trying to install a backscene as the starting point. This is where I came a little unstuck...

 

77.jpg.de2fc2bdba30ffa40810e84876a5d77a.jpg

 

Cutting the plywood itself (with some help from my lovely local carpenter) was not too hard, as seen above, even accounting for the gradient of the helix, and this shows what I hope to achieve; the curved backscene making an interesting area and hopefully I can disguise the 27" and 30" radius curves (a bridge perhaps?). There will be fascia on the front to disguise the turn immediately below the visible track and overhead lighting. This is presently Code 100 track and I don't think I will change it for Code 83 as it's laid and works nicely; I think with appropriate weathering, it will look fine (it also not laid on cork). What I struggled was trying to create some framing for it; with the plywood being curved, it proved too much to do with only one set of hands. I am also stuggling find the best way to make the framing, so this is a project I will put on the backburner for now.

 

Where I did have considerably more success was a project that has come from the helix work. A little while ago, I purchased a curved right-hand point because I was considering extending the helix to create additional storage; whilst it did fit, I was not sure how useful storage would be (as trains would obviously have to reverse out of it) and decided in the end I wanted more scenery on the layout. I did, however, want to try to add a little more storage if I could and find a use for this point, and then it hit me; the bottom half of Helix B on has a single track (Track 3) as it climbs from storage to come out on the second level. I could utilise this point to lay in a second track, which would give me another (very long) storage track (in fact, so long it might even take two trains). The question was, could I lay track into the existing helix with limited vertical clearance?  The answer, as it turns out, is yes:

 

78.jpg.24511b70cede05bb4854a770253695ee.jpg

 

Obviously very poor light and most definitely not the neatest but, to my immense relief, it works (Peco Code 100 track really is bulletproof to withstand what I put it through to get this done). What has made this possible the fact that I have used MDF for the helix construction, which has made it relatively easy to knock in the trackpins despite having very little space to swing the hammer (had it been ply, it would not have been possible). To lay the plain track, I am going to use the track at the top of the helix as a template to cut it to size and solder the jumpers across the joints, pre-drill holes for the track pins, and then feed it in from the inside of the helix to join up with the previous section. I am intending to put in a point at the top of the climb to form a very long loop roughly where #3942 is standing:

 

79.jpg.504b8407726a03f762a7db6cc920c241.jpg

 

Of course, it would have been massively easier to have done this during construction (I wish I had thought of it at the planning stage!) and I am under no illusion that it is going to be very awkward... However, I think the effort will pay off massively in having an additional storage siding for one or even two trains; the seed of this idea came from the most recent edition of Model Railroad Planning, where the author of an article had actually constructed an entire new helix inside an existing helix to create more storage space!

Edited by benjy14
Corrected typos.
  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.