Sunday, January 24, 2016

Starting the Wesso section

Once the tracks from the staging yards reach the top of the helix they will enter the western end of the paired track at a point the railroads call Wesso.  From here the SP would go to the southwest toward Sparks and Reno and the WP in a more directly western direction.  The general alignment of both railroads at Wesso is in a Northeast to Southwest direction.

Here is a screen shot from Googlemaps with my notes added to illustrate.  Besides the railroads the most noticeable feature is what appears to be a trap shooting range. I don't know if this was here in my 1970's to 1996 modeling era so mostly I plan to concentrate on the features related to the railroad such as the signals and dirt access roads.

Whenever modeling a prototype scene there are always some compromises to be made.  This drawing helps  illustrate what I will try to explain below.

Because I only have just under 7 ft to model this scene and on one end there is a 90 degree turn I  had to reverse the position of crossovers relative to how they are on the prototype.  On the prototype the two crossovers  meet on the SP side but in my model scene they will meet on the WP side.  This does not effect the operation.

One goal in my modeled scene will be to create the illusion of the two lines moving off in slightly different directions from one another as they enter the helix.  I plan to use a few hills and the Interstate 80 overpass to terminate the view of the SP line before it begins it turn into the helix.  This actually happens on the prototype in Winnemucca about a mile to the west of the scene.  The WP line will be in the open while it makes a gentle turn and go behind some hills or structures on the outskirts of Winnemucca which again is only a mile or so west of the scene.  So using scene compression to an advantage here.  Another way the scene will be compressed is the space between the tracks.  On the prototype the tracks are about 300 feet apart but I plan to model them at about 100 feet apart.

As mentioned in the last post, I've been working on the turnouts that will be used on this section of the layout and plan to start the bench work soon.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Custom throw bar for code 55 turnouts

While I've been happy with how smoothly the hand laid code 55 turnouts operate I have noticed that they are a bit delicate where the point rails contact the throw bar and have had several break on an Asia themed module while running the layout at  shows.  Not too hard to fix but I have been looking for ways to improve the durability.

Checking on the internet I learned that other people have had this problem on turnouts with smaller sized rail. It was suggested that the tension on the Tortoise motors be checked and I did that but have not been able to completely solve this issue.

I had worked around this problem In my home layout's staging yards by using HO scale ties to match the height of the ties on the Atlas code 80 flex track I was using.  The extra width of the throw bar seems to provide a stronger bond to the point rail.  With 16 turnouts in use there have not been any broken points so far.

The areas of the layout with scenery and code 55 track were going to need a different solution.

The PC board code 55 ties that come from Fast Tracks are .31" thick.  I purchased these PC ties from Clover House that are the same thickness but are wider.

My idea was start with this material, cut it to the length needed, then file down the areas that would be exposed to the same width as the Fast Tracks ties.  Leaving a section that would be under each point rail the full width.

I made up this crude little fixture from brass stock to help create the shape I wanted with a file.  The length of .110 PC board ties is placed into the slot that runs lengthwise.

The three shaped sections show in this photo is the results of only a few minutes of working with a file with the tie section in the fixture.  The two wider areas on the right are for contact to the point rails and the one on the left is for a reinforcement for the wire from the Tortoise motor.

Here is one of these customized tie sections installed in a turnout.  The idea is to have a bigger area of soldered contact with the point rail while maintaining an appearance of something close to the width of the rest of the ties.

Of course the real test is going to be getting a few of these  turnouts installed on the layout.  The double cross over / junction at Wesso will get the first 4 of these turnouts and will receive lots of use.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Train Board January weathering contest

It's 2016 already !, well happy new year !

In December my entry in the N scale weathering contest that was held on won by membership vote.  I got my prize in the mail yesterday.  It's this Great Northern weathered box car.

The requirement last month was any 40 ft box car that had at least some Micro-Trains part on it.  I entered this Micro-Trains car that I had weathered.  Another view of it is on this December post.

They are doing it again in January and this month it's got to include graffiti and can be any type of car, as long as it has at least some Micro-Trains product on it.  My entry is going to be this Atlas 50 ft ACF Centerflow covered hopper car.

Here is a view of the other side.  Voting is going to be during the 3rd week of January on the N Scale board at  Any TrainBoard member can vote.

Check it out.