Friday, December 19, 2014

First trains run in staging yard

After building several more turnouts for the staging yard, it was time to actually lay some track and install some turnouts so things could be more fully tested with powered locomotives and some trains of various lengths.  With the cork already in place for the rear staging track, around the return loop, and the return track in the front, that is where the first track has been installed.  There are a pair of left hand turnouts on the back track.  Linkages and un-powered Tortoise machines were also installed to hold the points.

First engine to run on any part of this layout was one of my WP GP-7's, shown here pushing a line of 89 foot auto racks through the aligned points of one turnout then the diverging points of the second turnout.  As the longer wheel base cars seem to be the most demanding, I'm testing with them first.

At first there were a few hangups but after tweaking a few things on the turnouts everything is running smoothly.  What is learned from these tweaks will be applied to the turnouts yet to be built.  I will be testing like this with different types of engines and freight cars.

These yard turnouts are not quite stock.  First of all they are made with code 80 rail to match the Atlas track I am using in the yard.  After building with the standard ties in the fixture, I have added several larger ties both to get the height up to match the Atlas ties and to be able to use track nails to hold the turnout in place.

The method I am using in the staging yard to control the turnouts is to mount a Tortoise motor upside down.  The wire in the motor is cut off at about 1/8 inch from the table top.  A linkage wire passes through a 1/8 inch square tube between the turnout throw bar tie and the Tortoise motor.  Each end of this linkage wire is bent up 90 degrees with one end linking to the throw bar tie and the other end coupled to the Tortoise were by a brass tube.  This way everything is accessible from above. Covers will be made later to place over each group of Tortoise motors.

Today's test runs have been very encouraging.

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