Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tempoary and movable return loop section

The two tracks that now end after crossing the bridges at Gloconda will eventually connect to one another and form a return loop.   But that return loop is still 50 actual feet away and who knows how long that will take to build and I want to run trains now.

So the solution I came up with was to build a temporary return loop on a section that can be connected to the end of the last completed section and then moved when a new section is added.

I used Kato Unitrack and spliced the Micro Engineering track to it with the same method presented in this post from last January.  The rail in the Kato Unitrack seems identical to the Atlas rail.





The other end of the adapter track was connected the end of the code 55 track on the finished part of the layout with tight Micro Engineering rail joiners and no solder.
Here is a simplified AnyRail track diagram of the layout as it is now.  This new section is at the far left and is the highest elevation.
Connecting those two tracks created a new return loop.  A DCC Specialities PSX-AR was mounted under the section and isolation gaps included in the track at both ends.

It's great to finally be able to run full trains over the entire layout such as it is right now.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Creating railroad service roads

The railroads maintain signals and other track side infrastructure with trucks and those trucks often use crude dirt roads.

I show this reference photo again, this time drawing attention to the dirt service roads.  I had always planned to include this in the layout and seeing this photo I thought my modeled scene of this area would be a good place to start.

Remember that as a first layer of base scenery I had used sanded grout then added layers of Arizona Rock & Mineral, and Woodland Scenics scenery materials.  Using a scrap of styrene about 1/2 inch wide, I scraped off these upper layers to expose the finer and lighter bottom layers

Then I sprinkled a thin line of the sanded grout and spread it along the path of the road with a brush but a finger also works.   The area was then given a coating of scenic cement or mat medium.
Besides using the contrast in texture to define the roads, adding some scrub brush in the areas where the road isn't also adds to the suggestion of a beaten path.  I have been using a combination of Woodland Scenics foliage clusters and Scenic Express prairie grass tufts.
There will be those places where ruts have formed when the ground was wet and remain long after the rain is gone and the soil hardened.   I wanted to represent some of that in a few locations.

Where I wanted to create ruts in my service roads I had applied a thicker than normal layer of basic landscape material (sanded grout).  After that dried I dragged a scrap of Kato Unitrack over the path of the road as shown here.

The roads done so far cross the tracks in 2 places.  I used angled wood grade crossings from Blair Line at these locations and added some RR crossing signs left over from the old layout and used those. My experience has been that these are the most vulnerable details so I had better make up some more for spares.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Melarkey Street Overpass

The Western Pacific track will exit the west end of the layout at the US 95 / Melarkey Street overpass in Winneumcca and then enter the helix.  This overpass is a two lane road.

On the prototype this bridge is about half a mile away from the I-80 overpass that the Southern Pacific track passes under but with the compression necessary in the model world it is only about 700 scale feet away.  Also I am representing the line as a single track where as in the real location it has become 2 tracks plus a siding.

 

The overpass was made from leftover parts from a Rix Products kit.  I have used and re-used several of these kits on other layouts.  The clever design of these kits make them easy to modify to fit almost any situation.  While primarily an HO manufacturer, Rix Products does make several other N scale injection molded kits.

To see more of their N Scale kit products visit the Rix Products Inc. website.

This company also makes modern concrete barriers as a separate set and I have ordered some of those for the Interstate highway.

Here is the small bridge assembly I put together to represent the Melarkey street overpass.  I used extra roadway sections to extend the road onto the top of the hill.

One pier was assembled and it's height adjusted to match the retaining wall on the hill.


Here is the bridge temporarily set in place.  The short lengths of round column seen the the prior photo fit into holes drilled in the bench work.

There is still much left to be done on this scene, the biggest part being the creation of a back drop.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Striping for the Interstate highway


Many of our model roads end up being narrow lanes without any striping.  In this project I have a relatively modern divided 4 lane highway and overhead photos show the types of striping so that is what I am trying to re-produce.

I have been using an HO scale product from Builders in Scale with good results on my Japanese prototype modules so I decided to use them on this project as well.

These are 4-1/2 inches wide in HO scale which would be about 8 inches wide in N scale.
Here is a view of the highway overpass as it is now.  Besides painting the highway section and applying the stripes, I have painted and weathered the retaining wall.  Still need to add some guard rails.

I have also started to add ballast to the tracks in this area starting with the black cinder layer.  In the photo I had just applied the glue solution and it is still wet.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Modeling an Interstate highway

As mentioned in the very first post on this blog, I had first gotten the idea for this layout while driving along Interstate highway 80 parallel to the rail lines.  In fact 80 closely follows the path of Southern Pacific line much of the way across Nevada and crosses over the tracks a few times along the way so I plan to represent the highway at some of those locations.

The first such area to be modeled will be at the west end of the layout where the Southern Pacific and Western Pacific lines diverge just west of the junction at Wesso.  This will a convenient way to have the tracks exit the layout.

Here is an overhead view from Bing maps of the area I am speaking of.  The orientation is about the same as it would be on the layout.  That is the SP tracks that are going under the freeway.  To simplify the scene I am going to leave out the 2nd street off ramp overpass.

The dirt roads are no doubt used by the railroad for access of MOW trucks.


I started with laminating 2 layers of 1/4 inch hard board together, one layer for the roads with a gap in the middle and the other to hold them together. Plastic strip was added along the edges where the bridge will be.

Then I built up the hillside / embankments that support the the highway assembly along the front edge.

As seen in this photo I have started to add base scenery to the area.  The .010 sheet of plastic protects the back drop.



A wood support was installed to support the highway on the rear side.  With built up edges on both supports the highway assembly will snugly fit into place but can be removed to access the track.






Here is an over all view of the area as it is now.  Still lots to do on the highway assembly, retaining walls, etc.

The base scenery on the hillside is still a bit damp but as it dries will blend in nicely with the existing scenery.  It's drying fast as it is really hot today.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

New cover photo

With about 10 feet of the layout having most of it's scenery finished I thought it would be nice to get some good photos and pick one to replace the prototype photo I have been using for about 3-1/2 years now.  Here is the one I choose.












The fascia is not finished yet in this location so I put in a Photoshop fascia and used the space for titles.  As I finish more scenes on the layout I plan to add a gallery of some sort to the blog, fun stuff !

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The white hills of Winnemucca

After taking some time off from working on the home layout to work on my Japanese prototype modules and take part in a 1 week long layout exhibition I am now back to working on some scenery in the Winnemucca area.


Winnemucca is the western end of the scenery on this layout.  On the prototype both the Southern Pacific and Western Pacific rail lines pass under bridges so I am using this feature to exit the tracks from the layout.   First step was to build up some low hills from building foam and some wadded packing paper then drape on the plaster cloth.

In the photo above the SP line is on the left and will pass under the Interstate 80 overpass.  The WP line curves off to the right and will pass under the Melarkey Street / US 95 overpass.  In reality these two spots are almost a mile apart and a couple miles from Wesso but as we often do on our layouts I am compressing the scene into a smaller space.