La Veta Pass Route Construction

traintodd Apr 2, 2013

  1. traintodd

    traintodd TrainBoard Member

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    I'm making some progress on the layout and the push is to get the main line up and running, get the turntable operational and to get a start on the basic terrain forms in the next few weeks. Pueblo yard has been wired up and the panel is complete. The panel was built on whiteboard painted with Krylon Fusion Hunter Green and the LED's and switches came from an ebay seller who carries a nice selection of that stuff. It's 22 Tortoises on 19 circuits and a Digitrax Zephyr Xtra for power. I had to keep telling myself during the two weeks I was mostly under the layout, I love wiring, I really love wiring, I really really love wiring......

    Working on track and foam substrate in a couple of places. That is a 2% WS incline which will be double track up to the town of Walsenburg. Since the WS incline is just a bit short of the width I need for the double track, I am adding an inch of foam on either side of the incline. Jeez, do you think WS could have made those just a bit wider????
    While the glue is drying, I am also starting to set-up and wire the Pueblo turntable which is turning into quite an engineering challenge. Since it has been designed for Code 80 track (which I guess should answer a question I've seen in one of the forums, at least Walthers thought it was the predominant track type when they designed this turntable), everything has to be shimmed up to fit code 55. I cut and glued .020" styrene around the lip of the turntable so the code 55 rail matches the code 80 bridge track. I have to ramp up the approach tracks, again using styrene and shim up the open storage tracks with .040" styrene. The roundhouse matches up decently to the shimmed up turntable lip, but I will have to put a .020" shim under each track between the turntable and roundhouse. Its quite the pain in the ...(select approprate body part). Anyway, I hooked up the turntable and after quite a bit of fussing with cleaning and adjusting the contacts, it's running fine. The control panel for the turntable is built and waiting for wiring of the storage tracks. All the storage tracks will have an on-off switch with LED indicators so that the locomotives not being used there are not on when the layout is on. I figure that might save me a little wear and tear on decoders down the road. And since the panels were built on white board, I can write the locomotive numbers on the panel with dry erase markers, and know what's in the stalls, at least that's the theory.

    Biggest thing holding up more progress is waiting for glue to dry, so I try and keep work going on a few locations at once while glue is drying in other areas. More later...
     

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  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    You're really flying along!

    I like the idea of storage track on-off switches.
     
  3. TrCO

    TrCO TrainBoard Member

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    You're really flying along-and doing great work while you go. Those control control panels look really cool too-and chance you could go into a touch more detail as to how they came about? :)
     
  4. traintodd

    traintodd TrainBoard Member

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    Chris,
    I have one in-process shot of the main yard panel. It's basically a shelf made out of 1 by's and masonite glued and screwed together and then a bunch of terminal strips hot glued to the masonite. The panel itself is white board masonite with a piano hinge on the bottom that is screwed into the shelf unit. I used Tamiya 6mm masking tape to mask off the panel lines, then sprayed the whiteboard with Krylon fusion for plastics. The paint adhesion is OK, not great, but OK, but not having to do a white undercoat makes it worth a little sacrifice in durability. The panel assembly is screwed to the 1x4 benchwork and rests up against one leg, so it is pretty stable. I am not showing anyone the wiring as I am not proud of the rat's nest I created there, but all the wires are labeled, so at least if something dies and I can find it and replace it. It would be an interesting poll to see what percentage of us are "Rat's Nest" electricians or route and bundle their wiring like a NASA engineer?
    . DSCN0701 (1024x506).jpg
     
  5. TrCO

    TrCO TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you for filling me in on your method :) Oh, and I would definitely fall into the rat's nest category, wishing I were in the NASA category lol
     
  6. traintodd

    traintodd TrainBoard Member

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    I’ve made some progress on the LVPR over the past few weeks,and I thought I would post a few pictures of my progress. I’ve finished wiring up the second powerblock and linked the two Zephyrs setting up one as a booster/throttle, and I’ve wired up the turntable and storage tracks. Lo and behold, it all works. I am amazed….my first attempt at making a Loconet cable worked fine, and I wired an AR-1 into the reversing section, and it seems to be working, Kowabungaaaaa!!! I haven’t been able to do a full test on the AR-1 yet and won’t until I get the next block wired, but I have my fingers crossed.
    The second and third layers of foam have been glued into place, the mainline is complete to the end of the Phase I benchwork, and the main is connected to the return loop that leads to a small two track staging yard and return track. I have painted the tracks up to about the yard limit, and man, cleaning the paint off the railhead is a pain. Also installed a couple of Blue Point turnout controllers, very nice and work great, but a little fiddly to position, a bit more so than Tortoises, I think. I am going to rethink using those in areas with built up foam, and just use Caboose ground throws instead of trying to dig a hole in the foam and inset a piece of wood to fasten the BluePoint and then try and align that with the turnout. Too many things to line up there, but these are a great alternative in flat areas where there is easy access underneath.
    A trip or two or three to Home Depot, and a little work on the ladder, and there are track spotlights above about a third of the layout in areas where I am done with heavy construction and getting started on the appearance side of things. Don’t want to be dragging work lights through the scenery!! Another set of these will be placed above the layout on the other side of the peninsula, especially in the dark corner at the far end. These were pretty easy to put up and I put LED spots in them, so they use almost no juice.
    Next, more wiring in the last power block, laying foam and track for the Alamo Coal Mine Branch, and lots and lots of foam work getting the basic scenery forms in place. Also, will start ballasting the yard, and putting up fascias. I will keep you posted, and as always, love to hear comment or questions. DSCN0744 (1024x768) (800x600).jpg DSCN0743 (1024x768) (800x600).jpg DSCN0745 (1024x768) (800x600).jpg DSCN0747 (768x1024) (600x800).jpg
     
  7. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Looks great! I like how you painted your track. Some seriously good model railroads exclude this, and realism suffers somewhat from the shiny silver rails and black plasticky ties. Best to paint them at this stage when you can cover up the mess later with scenery.
     
  8. ChileLine

    ChileLine TrainBoard Member

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    Great job! You're inspiring me to do more on my layout. Like the control panel and the trackwork.
     
  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wish the price of LED bulbs would come down further. Have you found an inexpensive source?
     
  10. RWCJr

    RWCJr TrainBoard Member

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    Beautiful work!! Will look forward to watching progress photos, please keep us updated. I too wish LED prices will come down some more. Bought some strip LED's from SuperbrightLEDs.com (St. Louise based company) to illuminate the roundhouse model. I bought the 5mm strip width includes resistors and can be cut into three light segments, each with its own soldering pads. Sure not cheap, but think it will provide good lighting with minimal wires to route and hide. Part of the strip can be seen at the top of this photo. Robert
    [​IMG]
     
  11. traintodd

    traintodd TrainBoard Member

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    I can't believe the last time I posted about my layout was in April!!!! Sorry about that, hopefully no one was waiting with bated breath. It’s been seven months since I started this beast,and I have been meaning to post a progress report, but just decided to keep on working on the layout. Finally I just decided to take some time and do it. Almost all the track for this phase of the layout is laid, only some industrial sidings that have to wait until I build the industries are left to do. This includes track for the town of Walsenburg and the Alamo coal mine. I decided to go ahead and put an incline on the mine tracks, which you can’t really see in the photos, but should be kind of fun when the mine is in place and the area is sceneried. Fascia board has been installed around the layout and Pueblo yard has been ballasted and weathered to look appropriately dirty, as yards should, and I have started ballasting the main line and return staging tracks. I also built a couple of backdrop industrial buildings, one a kitbash of the George Roberts and Variety Printing kits and the other a Walthers Modulars built-up. It’s been about four years since I have done any structure modeling, and all-in-all, they didn’t turn out too bad. Working on the streets and driveways for the area; that’s a work in progress as I figure out the best ways to scribe expansion joints and weather the concrete.

    The layout is completely wired and running pretty well, and now that I have run trains on it, I guess I can truly call it a layout, and not a track, wood, wire and foam thingie. Have done quite a bit of testing with various locomotives, combinations of locomotives and train types and lengths to see how they do with the 2, 3 and 4% grades on the layout, and I learned quite a bit about consisting on the Digitrax system and how various locomotive types will work on the layout. MU will be the order of business here, that’s for sure. I am starting to re-learn my scenery techniques, it’s been several years since I have done much of that as well, and that along with structure building and ballasting should keep me busy for a while. I threw a few recent pictures in just to document my progress. Thanks for looking and as always comments and questions are welcome.


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  12. ChileLine

    ChileLine TrainBoard Member

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    Nice Progress. Love the old Rio Grande.
     
  13. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    Love the track work, it is what sets off that perception thing in our heads, is it real? very nice.
     
  14. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Drop in and update us whenever you feel the urge. Looks like the steady time working on the layout is really paying off nicely.
     

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