Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Main staging yard bench work - Part 2

This second part of building the staging yard bench work will be to add the upper deck.

Side rails and cross braces for the upper deck were made from more 1-1/2 inch strips of plywood. The cross braces got 3/4 inch holes for wiring done on the drill press prior to installation.  Openings were cut in the lower deck for access.  Once the top is on the upper deck this box shape will give this section greater strength.

I'm a believer in sealing all bench work.  Sometimes for a module bottom I use some left over paint from some other project.  For this layout I found a light tan color in the bargain bin.  Before installing the deck for the upper level I painted those areas that would be harder to reach with the deck on.

Here is the yard section outdoors with the upper deck added.  I have left the entry end of the upper deck open as that part is still a bit unsettled as to the mounting of the turnout motors.  I do almost all of the cutting and sanding outdoor to keep the train room clean.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Main staging yard bench work - Part 1

In my last post I had just brought home the first sheet of plywood for building layout bench work.  Since that time, I have been able to spend several very pleasant afternoons building the first phase of the main staging yard section.  At 10 feet, 4 inches long it is likely going to be the largest single section.

In this first phase of building the staging yard,  I built the deck of the lower level.  To determine the size and shape of the upper deck, I needed to pencil in all the tracks and determine how many staging tracks and their spacing.  Also, the placement of the turnout motors and any linkages had to be considered.

I settled on a 22 inch width for the main part of the yard, 5 staging tracks for the SP on the lower level and 4 for the WP on the upper level.  Shown here is the end that balloons out to 32 inches where each of the lines will loop back at a 14 inch radius.

Here is a closer view of this part of the yard.  The green pencil lines represent the upper level and the red pencil lines represent the lower level.  The paper turnout templates were printed from the Fast Tracks web site.

The entry end of the yard will partly extend over onto the outer part of the helix with only two turnouts for each line actually being in the yard section. Here I had accidentally placed two templates on a blue pencil line and crossed them out in Photoshop.  That particular blue line represents the division between the lower and upper levels.

This view shows what the underside of the yard module looks like.  I found some large shelf brackets at the local hardware store that were just right for this application.  There's enough room between the brackets for my big train cabinet or other large items.

Ready for that next sheet of plywood !

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Staging yard design

At the western end of the paired track just east of Winnemucca, there is a double crossover.  This point on the railroad is known as Wesso.  From Wesso the Western Pacific and Southern Pacific routes diverge as they continue west.  So this is actually a form of junction and junctions provide for interesting operations.

After each of the single track lines leave the junction they will enter staging through a helix.  I have a length of about 11 feet for the staging yards and turn around loop.  To properly simulate the prototype operation I want each single track line to have it's own staging and  loop back to itself.  After playing around with several ideas, this is the design I came up with to accomplish this.

It's hard to visualize from this one drawing but what happens is that at the west end of the layout the two lines will leave the layout disappearing behind some hills or buildings of Winnemucca to enter the double track helix down to this staging yard.  At the bottom of the helix the WP line will leave the helix first at one turn above the bottom and enter the staging yard on a level at the back half that is higher than the SP yard.  The WP return loop will pass over the SP return loop and then over the SP staging tracks to re-enter the higher level WP staging yard.

I'm ready to start building this and today picked up a nice sheet of 1/2 inch birch plywood at Home Depot.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Installing a Showcase Express display case

It's been a few months since I posted anything on this layout blog.  Again, most of my model railroading time has been taken up with module projects and some DCC installs but that is also rewarding.  The train room has now been through a summer and has been very pleasant to work in.  On some days it is actually cooler than in the house.  Also, as long as I keep the door to the garage closed dust is minimal.

The LED lighting for the layout has advanced to the point that I am beginning to build some permanent bench work.  I hope to post more on both of those subjects soon.  Recently I installed a large display case along the wall between where the lower staging yard will and the highest point on the layout.

Several years ago my wife gave me as a Christmas present this Showcase Express display case for my n scale trains.  This is the set that has 10 two foot long sections.

This system uses specially made aluminum channels that interlock when stacked on top of each other.  It's a flexible system.

I really like this one so when I had the chance to buy the set of 10 four foot long sections I knew just where I could use it in the new train room.

The goal is to mount this set as 2 sets of 5 high placed end to end.  I had already installed some shelf brackets that will support the east end of the layout which will be Carlin.  In order to mount these display case channels, I needed to build a frame that would allow the case to clear those brackets and still be securely mounted to the wall.

The channels have a groove along the back that help guide where the mounting holes will go.  I aligned these with the vertical sections on the frame I built.  There is also black plastic links that can be fitted to the top of the inside of adjoining channels.

These display case channels are designed to fit a standard Micro-Trains box including the lid.  Locomotive boxes, or larger Micro-Trains boxes do not fit.

The way I prefer to use these display cases is to put the locomotives and rail cars directly into the case without their boxes.  There are a pair of grooves on the bottom of each channel that are a perfect match to N scale wheels.

Here is the display case with all 10 of the 4 foot sections mounted temporarily in place with a complete train placed in the bottom channel.  Hey ! that's just about how long a train is going to be on this layout.  With these being just above the staging yard and the layout being multiple eras, I plan to park the out of era items on these display case channels.  Before mounting these permanently I need to get the shelf that will support the Carlin section of the layout in place.