Putting the touches on the mountian

With the core foam and plaster rocks all in place I am making the final touches.
These show progressions of smoothing, shaping and painting.
After this I will add the water effects and then dirt, grass, shrubs and trees.

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6 Months … slow but steady

The tortoise wins the race. I have made slow but steady progress. First finishing the main loop and loopback to the middle deck and refining and tweekin the trackage so even the huge Paragon can make it (ususally).
I now emabrk on some scenery – The Lower Left side (from a birdseye view of the track layout) I have put on layers of foam and created a tunnel system, the starts of a mountian range and a coal tunnel.
I had much fun making rocks from molds then making molds from rocks and repeating until I had a box of rocks. Then glueing them onto to the mountian sides. I am now sanding the work and readying for a final plaster coating before painting.

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Phase Lower Deck 1 complete wiring and trackage !

This gallery contains 5 photos.

I have completed to a good stoping point for the wiring and trackage for Phase 1 of the lower deck. Not all endpoints go anywhere but its should be a good point where I can start on some scenery and … Continue reading

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Double Crossover

Slow progress … I have been working on the middle island section. Pictures to come.
But what I really needed was some fancy trackwork ! So thanks to FastTracks I built a double crossover ! This took a few days, maybe four 2 hour sessions to get this done but I am quite pleased. Its a bit harder but not vastly harder then the single turnouts. I am glad I waited until I had some practice though as it definately takes more skill and patience.

For your viewing pleasure I present …

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Slow but steady progresss

The last few months I’ve made slow progress. I’ll blame it on summer and work :) But reality is I’ve slowed down. But not to stop!
After pulling out the “Nolix” I’ve found a spot for my original experimental segment, spliced that in and created a ramp to it.
I’ve updated the layout diagram and rewired the 6×1 segment to use Tortises instead of mechanical hand-thrown. I’m about ready to either start on some scenery, or work on the island as a yard.

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Tore down the Nolix !

I had it almost complete, even had some trains running up it when I finally decided I didnt like the “Nolix” (spiral thingy). It took up way too much room of my lower deck eating up nearly half of the entire layout area for the sole purpose of getting from the lower deck to the upper deck. It just didnt turn out how I imagined it in my brain or on paper/visio. So rip rip rip off it goes … I’ve decided to either install a helix in the future to connect the decks, or leave the upper and lower decks unconnected. Either way I can now focus on the lower deck without worrying about how to get the trains up to the top. This also opened up a spot for my experimental module ! Being at about 6 inches higher then the deck I’ve set it up to use the first part of the ramp from the original nolix. I may still cut out some of the baseboard foam to lower it a bit.

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Loop to upper deck

How am I going to do this ? Here’s some pictures of the skeleton of the loopback to the upper deck.
As you can tell its very precarious. Dont worry, thats intentional. I just wanted to get a “feel” for how its going to look and work out how to suspend the track. No idea yet. Suggestions welcome ! This is the blue loopback in the right side of the new-revised layout diagram shown.
Wish me luck !

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Control Board

The control board is starting to shape up! Shown here are 3 auto-reversers (PSX-AR1), 1 block breaker (PSX-1) , 6 switch controllers (DS64) and associated wiring. Note the LED’s in the upper left and detail screen which indicate the switch positions. These are only for debugging purposes as this board normally swings down and under the benchwork.

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Phase 1 – complete loop

At long last I’ve completed my first major phase. A complete loop which I can run trains on contiously.
This completes the mainline track, benchwork, and wiring for the main doggone loop. Lots left to do … turnouts that go nowhere, a yard to build, block detection etc. But I can run trains ! I’ve had up to 3 going at once individually controlling each one with a different throttle.

Here is an updated layout diagram, the black track is the actual completed track (blue is coming next, the “nolix” to the upper deck). and some pictures of the work in progress.

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Section 4 in progress

January has been good. 3 sections are track-complete and section 4 in progress. Electrical basework also in progress. I have a DCC and DC Buss wired with a PSX-AR1 reversing unit.

Section 3 is intresting, it has a back-to-back pair of 24/28 curved turnouts. Being in the corner of the first rise of the track leading to the second deck its going to be the base of a mountian scene with a trestle bridge in the background (tbd).

Section 4 contains 2 interesting pieces. It will contain a ‘drop under’ track to drop under the 6′ shelf layout I made last year. I am not going to complete this right now but rather just leave room for it and a turnout (which starts on section 3).

It also contains a custom crossing. This is a 75deg crossing where 2 24″ curves cross each other. This crossing I’m entirely hand-making without even an accurate plan (could find none), but some good ideas from friends on the net and of course FastTracks (www.handlaidtracks). Its turning out that a crossing seems to be about 4x harder then a turnout even though it has no moving parts. It has 4 “frogs” instead of 1 and 16 seperate flanges … none of which I have a “jig” for so have to hand cut, file, solder, and place.

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