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Archive for the ‘Track Work’ Category

Three for Two

I saw this custom built turnout for sale on eBay today, and immediately thought about the space saving it would accomplish in a very cramped corner of my layout.

I saw this custom built turnout for sale on eBay today, and immediately thought about the space saving it would accomplish in a very cramped corner of my layout.  It was also attractive because it is built from the same Code 83 Micro Engineering track that I am using on the visible portions of the rest of my layout.  Technically I’m using Peco Code 100 on the hidden staging loop, but that doesn’t count as visible.  I’m using it in staging (along with numerous re-railing sections) in the hope of minimizing derailments in hard to reach places.

This revised track plan shows the three-way turnout which will replace two curved turnouts (and their total length) at the entrance to the Durango yard.

This revised track plan shows the three-way turnout which will replace two curved turnouts (and their total length of about 20 inches) at the entrance to the Durango yard.

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Durango Yard Track Work

After a summer of relative inactivity on the D,D&SNGRR, I am finally pushing myself to get going again. Several factors: I'm going to be doing the cutting for the rest of the benchwork and the track sub-roadbed down below my layout room in my un-heated garage, and in Minnesota the season for being able to work under those circumstances is rapidly drawing to a close.  I have ordered some High Density, color-changing LED lighting for behind the back drop.  I decided to go with HitLights.com because they sell a higher density RGB LED string at a lower price than Micro-Mark, but I am going to get the Micro-Mark "Topside Creeper" ladder; it will be the only way I can reach the back of the Durango section of the layout.  I have a couple of spots where the backdrop turned out just a little low for what will go in front of it, so Dave Burgess of Backdrop Junction made me two little extensions I can layer in.  More on that later.  I need to wire up some track work so I can play with the Digitrax control system I bought last January.

After a summer of relative inactivity on the D,D&SNGRR, I am finally pushing myself to get going again. Several factors: I’m going to be doing the cutting for the rest of the benchwork and the track sub-roadbed down below my layout room in my un-heated garage, and in Minnesota the season for being able to work under those circumstances is rapidly drawing to a close. I have ordered some High Density, color-changing LED lighting for behind the back drop. I decided to go with HitLights.com because they sell a higher density RGB LED string at a lower price than Micro-Mark, but I am going to get the Micro-Mark “Topside Creeper” ladder; it will be the only way I can reach the back of the Durango section of the layout. I have a couple of spots where the backdrop turned out just a little low for what will go in front of it, so Dave Burgess of Backdrop Junction made me two little extensions I can layer in, and I need to wire up some track work so I can play with the Digitrax control system I bought last January.

Whenever I lay more track I seem to change the track plan.  Some of that is due to getting used to how much space things take in O-scale; at other times it is due to new ideas about how to arrange things.

Whenever I lay more track I seem to change the track plan. Some of that is due to getting used to how much space things take in O-scale; at other times to new ideas about how to arrange things.  Some times there are sacrifices, and I have to weight the options, but I rarely regret changes when I have to make them.  The plan has become a generalized guide rather than an exact blueprint.  On this new set-up for the Durango yard, I tried to move things as close to the front edge of the layout as possible, and I succeeded in getting a lot more of the action within my 32 inch reach.  The Topside Creeper will take care of the rest.

Most of the track work is laid out in this view, and a few of the structures set in place.

Most of the track work is laid out in this view, and a few of the structures set in place.  The whole “table” will eventually get turned 90 degrees and set into the narrow end of the room seen behind.  Unfinished tracks will continue around the corner to run up the long side of the room on the left in this photo.

In this view from the other end of the roughly 4x8 ft. table, you can see the trolley track (standard HO Code 83) that I re-routed inside the turn back curve of my Micro-Scale Code 83 On30 track.

In this view from the other end of the roughly 4×8 ft. table, you can see the trolley track (standard HO Code 83) that I re-routed inside the turn back curve of my Micro-Engineering Code 83 On30 track, so it wouldn’t have to cross all of the yard tracks to get to the residential area of Durango.

I'm using Loctite Power Grab construction adhesive to secure the track

I’m using Loctite Power Grab construction adhesive to secure the track on to the homasote base.  It really does grab quickly; the push pins would hardly be necessary, but I’m not gluing down the turnouts yet, so they hold everything in alignment.  My wife came in this afternoon and said of the push pins, “Oh, those are pretty.”

Since this is all a railroad yard area, I am not using the California Roadbed that I will be using out on the main line.  The ties in this area will be buried in cinder ballast almost up to the level of the track.  This will also help to conceal the different track styles I am using.

Since this is all a railroad yard area, I am not using the California Roadbed that I will be using out on the main line. The ties in this area will be buried in cinder ballast almost up to the level of the track. This will also help to conceal the different track styles I am using.  The water tower shown here will eventually be located in Silverton.  I am going to build a typical round D&RG water tower for Durango.

That is also the case for this small store, but I put it here for the photogenic value for today.

That is also the case for this small store, but I put it here for the photogenic value for today.  The cardboard retaining wall around the turn back curve will come down once I have the whole table in its final position.  Until then, it prevents locomotive tragedies.

I'm feeding every track section with power from 18 ga. solid track feeders.

I’m feeding every track section with power from 18 ga. solid track feeders.  They will connect to 14 ga. stranded bus wire with 3M Scotchlok Insulation Displacement Connectors.  By feeding every piece of track I can leave the rail joiners un-soldered to facilitate thermal expansion and contraction of the track.

These scratch-built drop bottom coal gondolas will deliver coal through between the tracks grating.

These scratch-built drop bottom gondolas will deliver coal through between-the-tracks grating.

The Maintenance of Way shed got moved to make room for the Icing Dock.  See previous track plans.

The Maintenance of Way shed got moved to make room for the Icing Dock. See previous track plans.

The Icing Dock got moved to simplify the track work to the Freight House and the Stock Pens.

The Icing Dock got moved to simplify the track work to the Freight House and the Stock Pens.

The Freight House is now one track closer to the front edge of the layout.

The Freight House is now one track closer to the front edge of the layout.

The Caboose track had to be sacrificed so the reefers could reach the Icing Dock.  The cabooses will just have to find space elsewhere, or share this track.  Durango yard switching gets more and more interesting.

The Caboose track had to be sacrificed so the reefers could reach the Icing Dock. The cabooses will just have to find space elsewhere, or share this track. Durango yard switching gets more and more interesting.

One thing that has never changed is the location of the Durango Depot; it is still right at the front edge of the layout.

One thing that has never changed is the location of the Durango Depot; it is still right at the front edge of the layout.

#28 approaches the Coaling Tower.

#28 approaches the Coaling Tower.

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I have got to knuckle down and start some trackwork.  After all, a model railroad is so much more than just structures and rolling stock.  I also had an idea of how to route the trolley so it didn't have to cross any railroad tracks.  This will work out so much better, and all I had to sacrifice was a little space at the end of the yard.  I've had this large homosote topped floating island in the middle of my layout room for six months.  It is the future home of the Durango yard.

I have got to knuckle down and start some track work. After all, a model railroad is so much more than just structures and rolling stock. I also had an idea of how to route the trolley so it didn’t have to cross any railroad tracks. This works out so much better, and all I had to sacrifice was a little space at the end of the yard. I’ve had this large homasote topped island floating around in the middle of my layout room for six months. It is the future home of the Durango yard, so today I started the track work.

I'm not doing anything particularly novel with my track laying.  I'm using Micro-Engineering Code 83 rail for On30.  This photo shows thin pieces of styrene inserted under the outside rail to super elevate the yard run around track curve.  It also shows the Micro Mark digital level I'll be using to check grades.  Here it shows that I have a .75% tilt to the super elevation of the track.

I’m not doing anything particularly novel with my track laying. I’m using Micro-Engineering Code 83 rail for On30. This photo shows thin pieces of styrene inserted under the outside rail to super elevate the curve on the yard run-around track . It also shows the Micro Mark digital level I’ll be using to check grades. Here I can see that I have a .75% tilt to the super elevation of the track.

Recommended practice is to have you two rail sections joined straight when you solder the rail joiners.  The tripod comes in handy for supporting the end of the rail while I'm soldering.  Once that's done, I can gently bend the rail into the curve marked with black felt pen on the homasote.

Recommended practice is to have your two rail sections joined straight when you solder the rail joiners. The tripod comes in handy for supporting the end of the rail while I’m soldering. Once that’s done, I can gently bend the rail into the curve marked with black felt pen on the homasote.  Since this is a yard, I’m mounting the track directly on the flat homasote without any roadbed.  When I get out of town on the main line, I’ll be using California Roadbed, which is also a homasote product, but shaped to resemble a track profile for ballasting.

30 years ago I cut my track laying teeth in N-scale, but this time I'm not using track nails.  The Micro-Engineering spike heads are so fragile, if I tried to nail down the track, I'd be breaking them over and over again.  Instead I'm using a Loctite product called Power Grab, and believe me it does just that.  There's not much working time, but the track is going to be held very securely.

30 years ago I cut my track laying teeth on N-scale, but this time I’m not using track nails. The Micro-Engineering spike heads are so fragile, if I tried to nail down the track, I’d be breaking them over and over again. Instead I’m using a Loctite product called Power Grab, and believe me it does just that. There’s not much working time, but the track is definitely going to be held securely.  I’m also cleaning my soldering work with alcohol each time I finish a joint. 

Another new product I'm trying is Fast Tracks "Sweepsticks"  They nestle right down between the rails for a perfect curve.  They come in a wide range of radii for all scales.

Another new product I’m trying is Fast Tracks “Sweepsticks” They nestle right down between the rails for a perfect curve, and they come in a wide range of radii for all scales.

Eventually, this island yard will position along the east end of my layout room and get secured to the walls.  Once that it done, I'll put scenery between the island and the background.  Until then I'm stapling on some cardboard

Eventually, this island yard will position along the east end of my layout room and get secured to the walls. Once that is done, I’ll put scenery between the track and the background. Until then I’m stapling on some cardboard retaining walls where the rails come too close to the edge of the deck for comfort.

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