Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Whiting Street Yard trackwork is complete

All of the track (including 7 turnouts) is installed in the Whiting Street Yard. I still have to install a number of feeders, but the track is in and works. Details and scenery will be installed sometime in the future.

The next step is to complete the track for the Berlin branch up to the main deck. In the process of laying the track I found that the lift-out and the deck for the Whiting Street Yard weren't leveled quite the same. There was a slight downgrade in either direction, with the seam between the two as the peak. This was easily fixed by shimming up the end of the lift out that is farthest from the yard. This has the effect of cutting the length of the grade to the main deck by at least 1/3. The grade is still 2%, just not as long. I would love to start the grade at the same point, which would reduce the overall grade % a little, but I'm using the Woodland Scenics risers and they don't have anything less than 2%.

The issue is that I need to raise the deck for the section that is no longer on a grade. It will be easy, since it's the exact thickness of the OSB. But my scraps of OSB are in the closet behind the lift out. So I need to cut the three tracks that connect the lift-out to the yard, but I'm not quite sure how I will do that cleanly. My basic choices are the Dremel or a hacksaw, I just haven't decided yet. I'm hoping to get Dremelman/Sawman (Chris) up to do the dirty work.

I also trimmed and rounded the rest of the corners on the helix that face the aisle.

So quite a bit of work over the last week. I'll install the rest of the feeders tomorrow, and figure out how I'll deal with the modified grade. I really want to get that track in because I can use it for staging and actually operate the Whiting Street Yard.

More to come (and yes, I'm still working on the pictures).

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Whiting Street Yard is operational!

Yes, that's right. Jessica ran the first official train in the partially completed Whiting Street Yard this morning.

Three turnouts are in, although only one is actuated at this point (with a Blue Point turnout control, at least temporarily). Adding feeders has turned out to be much simpler than I anticipated. Currently there are 4 feeders to each turnout, one on each leg, plus the two short pieces beyond the frog. I've tinned the bottom of the frog and will be adding a feeder for powered frogs as well.
I did have to troubleshoot one short, a missed gap on a PC-board tie (which is what I figured it was). The general process is this:
1. Tin the rail where feeders will be attached.
2. Glue the Central Valley ties to the assembled turnout using CA.
3. Glue the turnouts and track down.
4. Drill a small hole immediately next to the back side of the rail for feeders.
5. Tin the wire and bend an 'L' for the feeder end.
6. Feed the wire through from the top, with the small 'L' pressing against the bottom of the rail.
7. Touch the hot iron to the wire and rail, softening the solder already on the rail and wire.
8. Attach the feeder to the bus with a 3-M 'suitcase' connector.
Jessica's train was a simple freight of two cars and a caboose. I staged it on the incoming track. She pulled up a bit, dropped the hack, then dropped off a car on each of the two trailing point sidings. The lead is just long enough for the locomotive (DEY-1b) and two cars. It's the first time she's run a train, and she thought the whole thing was very cool.

I have the remaining 4 turnouts built, and will be assembling the rest of the yard this week. I have to figure out the details of how to ensure the lift-out will line up properly every time. I have an idea of how I'll do that. The next two turnouts to be installed are on the lift-out. I'm hoping to complete the yard to run a 'full session' of drop-offs and pick-ups with Jessica before she heads off to Florida in a week-and-a-half with Grandma and Grandpa.

I also need to get some parts so I can build the crossovers for the mainline. Then I can set up a work session laying the mainline (and staging) to get this thing moving along...
I will get some pictures up as soon as I can (technical difficulties...)

Friday, June 24, 2011

The old site is gone!

It's official. I've finished transferring all of the information from the old site to this new one. Because I've also redesigned the site, there is quite a bit of information that is not here, or at least not in the same format.

For example, I had started (but not really populated) pages for all of the passenger cars that the New Haven rostered during my era. I'm now focusing on just the classes of cars that I will model and ran on the Highland Line.
I'm hoping this streamlined version will be easier to navigate and update. The only feature that I don't have available for this site right now (a limitation of Google Sites) is the ability for visitors to post comments. So if you have any information, thoughts, comments, etc. about the site please contact me via email.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

So much for frequent updates...

OK, it's been a little hectic and I really need to start moving forward on the layout and posting some updates. My time has been more divided than usual - I was recently laid off and I'm looking for a job, and after 8 years of living in the hospital we're preparing for our daughter Emily to finally come home.

I also designed and built the new True Line Trains website.

The NE Proto Meet was great fun as always. I set up a table for True Line Trains since Darren and the gang wouldn't be able to make it down from Canada. I had the guys over for a quick cookout and look at the layout during the Friday and Saturday dinner breaks.

I've also continued populating this site with new information and I've completed moving about 80% of the old site over.

I have also been working on the layout and I'll be taking some pictures soon and I will really start regular updates (really, I will...)