10-16-11 Assembly Day
The long awaited big day arrived. Assembly day of the sections finally was here. After all the planning, building and wiring it was time to take down the temporary work platform, put on the real legs and connect the sections. Many things had already been done along the way and were waiting for this day like the legs were predrilled for the mounting holes and had the elevator bolt feet installed. I had the jumper wires to connect the section terminal blocks made since February. It was time to put the pieces of the layout puzzle together! There are currently 11 sections. They all had to be put in their specific locations. I was doing this work all by myself. By now the sections are probably 60+ pounds each but are large and awkward to handle given the height of the legs. I basically just bent over under a section, put a cross member on my shoulders and partially stood up to move them.
It was particularly challenging to put all of sections in perfect position, getting down to a matter of splitting mere inches. I had 2 factors to contend with; the corner of the bathroom as a clearance pinch point and a support pole - which if it was another 12” in another direction would have helped me greatly. But of course the support pole won. All in all there is pretty good walking clearance around the entire layout which was absolutely mandatory from the beginning of the plan.
I joined the track across the sections with various techniques including using bridge rails. I then soldered the bridge rails in place. This area is mostly going to be the passenger terminal complete with train sheds 4 feet long and an REA building.
I am considering all of the track going on this section to be temporary for now. The intention was to just complete the loops and get running. My intent is to make this area freight themed with a yard. We will see what it actually becomes as for now it is not planned at all. Getting through installing and wiring another 20 or so turnouts was too much for me to handle going straight through from the beginning. I needed to get the trains running to reinvigorate me!
I used 2 pieces of 1/8” x 3” aluminum flat bar 12 feet long to mark the track center lines.
On 10-29-11 Charlie & I found and fixed the last of the stubborn short issues.
Let the trains roll!
The outside mainline is about 83 running feet.
This is from my first quick n dirty photo shoot on 11-3-11.
I called the loco line up “3 Modern Faces”.
On 6-27-12 the REA building arrived. It was built for me by my good friend Gus Minardi.
This is 2 kits of the HO Walthers REA building raised only 1/8”.
S Scale people doors were added to the ends. Other than that the kit is stock out of the box!
Look at the dock height and overhanging dock roof lining up to the S Scale cars!
3 Cabin Cars made it out of the boxes to get finished.
The Cabin track is getting full!
New sidewalks for the passenger station made from white Plexiglas were roughed in. They have to have lines scribed in and painted to better simulate concrete.
I added some dock details like a forklift, boxes and crates to the REA dock. Detailing has begun!
There are actually 2 runarounds in the track plan which will serve what will be the Post Office/Railway Express area well for switching cars. One runaround can easily hold 4 hold end cars while the switcher runs around. I actually DID switching which is a new concept for me to arrange some cars here for these photos. Also a cut of Cabin Cars clogs the yard lead/freight bypass track.
On October 2, I had a momentous occasion I completed all of my Cabins Cars! This is the first rolling stock “category” that is done!
I also got both of my SD9 out to run for the first time on this layout.
I have been working on tweaking and improving the track for better running. It has worked out pretty well where I have been able to run very long trains. My running trains lately has been shuffling trains from sidings out to run while figuring out how and where to store the other trains. I am sort of getting “track bound” where I will have to put some trains away to get out and run others I have not run in a while.
I recently intalled a Tsunami in a PRR E7a. Here are 2 poses of some of my E Units in what will be the passenger shed area.
S Helper Service Code 139 Rail Turnouts
The quest for good turnouts for the mainlines using S Helper Service rail has proven to be a year+ of complete frustration. I have all of the Fast Tracks tools to make the code 100 & 139 (SHS rail) turnouts but have not done it yet. I had a good stockpile of code 100 turnouts so there was no immediate need to make code 100 turnouts to get the layout started. Three custom code 139 made turnouts had a massive hole in the middle of the frog that the wheels literally fell into every time. I hated them from when I first installed them at the start of the layout! This was also a derailment issue. The fix to these 3 turnouts was a long drawn out replacement with 3 other new custom made turnouts that luckily are finally PERFECT!
I also bought 4) code 139 #8 turnouts from Custom Trax for 2 mainline crossovers. They are very nice but had this very strange frog arrangement that proved to be a big problem. In an effort to give the turnouts bolt detail there was almost 1 inch without real RAIL! There was nothing but urethane. It became a very annoying stall issue for a surprising number of locomotives big and small. Since much of the issue was truly awful frogs, I thought about making some in Solidworks and having them cast. Enter Protocraft to the rescue! Protocraft caters to the O Scale P48 market. It just so happens that the standards for P48 are the same for S Scale! Protocraft offers cast turnout kits and components. I bought 1) code 138 turnout kit as a test. It was sheer and instant perfection! The frog is not even spiked in. It meets the NASG Standards Gauge perfectly. I have not had a derailment there once. I don’t care if the bolt details are a little large. The alternative would be a lot more work. It takes the heavy lifting out of making turnouts with the SHS rail. I am buying more Protocraft frogs and switch kits for what will probably be my remaining mainline turnout needs.
These turnouts have been replaced with #10 custom turnouts using all of the Protocraft castings in the turnout kit. The Custom Traxx turnouts all were sold.
Custom Trax Frog Before Custom Trax with Protocraft Frog After
I got the first of 2 very custom curved mainline crossovers installed. These also use the Protocraft #8 turnout casting kits. The other crossover is going to be in the opposite direction. I have a YouTube clip of it in action here
Layout progress for almost a year has been non-existent. I believe that is typical that once trains are running the drive slows a bit. When designing the layout I knew it was going to be close for the backdrop to clear a duct that feeds to the 2nd HVAC zone in the house. But it did not clear is by about 12” leaving a 3 foot gap. The backdrop was put up quick n dirty anyway until I could resolve the duct problem. I knew it would all have to come down and redone some day. The solution came to me pretty easily but took over a year to execute. The washer & dryer had to be raised on a platform and stuffed tight in the corner of the basement. This gave me precious room to make the layout slightly wider. The beauty of the layout being sectional is I could make a small piece to make the JUST wide enough to clear the duct which is what I did.
The expansion was 14” long. The backdrop clears the duct by about 3 inches now.
Note: The backdrop gaps were all closed on 6-2-18
Most buildings at this point as just randomly flopped in place. They will all likely be moved and rearranged when a more finalized plan is in place.
The donut shop is a Pine Canyon Copper’s Donuts kit I lettered as Moylan’s Donuts for my friend Steve Moylan, a retired Deptford Police officer. The S Scale law enforcement will be well fed with the donut shop.
The gas station is THE building from the Pine Canyon website. Some of the vehicles are not era correct at this point. I bought a bunch of Mustang and Shelby cars and trucks because I like them!
Mail & Express Train
Since I got a much wanted and long awaited set of PRR head end car decal sets made I have been painting and redoing my passenger rolling stock. Some cars painted about 10 years ago got stripped. Some cars got traded away for unpainted models. Some were not painted and are getting painted now! Plus you can see that I am painting cars in various colors including – oxide red! All previous passenger rolling stock was painted Scalecoat Tuscan right out of the bottle.
This is a really quick n easy photo shoot as the newly painted head end cars are starting to come together nicely. Every now and then the camera works and I get good photos. Only a few used a tripod. I liked them so on the page they go!
In the train (15 cars) is a single Overland E7a, Southwind R50b, B60, B60b, a scratchbuilt X42, Pennsy S Models REA X29 and a American Models plastic car as a rider coach. The coach will be replaced with a P70 as soon as they are done.
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