Wednesday, February 15, 2023

The new New Britain Yard

Thanks to John Drake switching back to N-scale, I was able to get the turnouts I needed to rebuild New Britain Yard.

I covered the reasons I did this here, but I'll summarize in no particular order - 

  1. My modeling skills have improved, and the ground cover and ballast of this section (the centerpiece) wouldn't match or be up to the standards of what I'll be doing now.
  2. I wish I had used code 55 track for the yard.
  3. I need to add switch machines to the main track switches, which is easier to do when they aren't already in place.
  4. I need to separate track 1 and 2 into individual electrical blocks for signaling.
  5. I was very happy with the 1-7/8" track centers in Whiting St. Yard. which would also allow me to add the missing track to New Britain Yard.
  6. Other track arrangement issues, I was able to make more room for the crossing shanty, for example.

Here's a few in-progress shots. Because I tore everything up, instead of using N-scale cork roadbed I used the craft foam I used for Whiting St. Yard. Although just a smidge shorter than the N-scale cork coming into the section, it's not a huge difference. I can draw on it to lay things out easily.

To mock it up, I have 3/4" wide strips of masonite (left over from the prior layout when I had cut them for spline roadbed). I prefer to work from the edge of the track, rather than the center line. I think it's more precise (at least for me). The 3/4" between the edge of the ties sets the track centers to 13'3" with the NH standard at 13'. Close enough for me. I think it looks better too, with another bonus being that I can fit the missing Track 13 and have a slightly wider spacing before tracks 15 and 17. 

I didn't pull out the tracks in the asphalt. So Track 1 and Track 2 are still on 2" centers. Although by the time I was finishing this up I realized it wouldn't have been too difficult to deal with that, It will work fine as is.

The switch shanty has an appropriate amount of room now. Still tight, but not much more than the prototype. It also required reworking the engine servicing tracks, also code 55 now.

Is all this worth it? I think so. Here's a picture of the original arrangement:

Note that the yard proper is only 3 tracks. Track 13 should be a long track that crosses Elm St. Without the fourth track, the crossover between the two is missing too. Here's the prototypically accurate arrangement:

Not a huge change by itself, but operationally I think it may be. In addition, the yard tracks are now Code 55 rail. I'm also not using any rail joiners in this section. Instead, I'm using KV Models joint bars, which can be soldered.

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