N Scale Build of the Delaware, Susquehanna & Northern Railroad

Hardcoaler Dec 20, 2021

  1. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    With my new N Scale railroad finally underway, I thought I might start a thread where I can post progress, assuming I make any.

    I've been an N Scaler since 1968. My current railroad is the Delaware, Susquehanna & Northern, a freelance anthracite regional set in the early 1980s, operating lines that Conrail chose to reject.

    This will be my third DS&N RR, with the first in 1980 and the second in 1987. The second version lasted thirty years, but was often inactive in its latter years, as career and family took priority over model railroading.

    There have been so many changes in N Scale that I almost feel like a new hobbyist. I'd be lost without the support and friendship I've received here at TrainBoard.

    I painted this caboose in 1980 and I hope it'll be following my freight trains for many more years.

    2021-12-20 DS&N Caboose - for upload.jpg
  2. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

    Welcome back! 9so to spaak).
    BoxcabE50, Hytec and Hardcoaler like this.
  3. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

    Yeah, it's the @Hardcoaler thread that I have been waiting for. Hope you add the building of the benchwork, and custom panel and such here in one place. Your wood working skills and electrical skills are amazing as are others here on Trainboard. Have a special bookmark in my browser for it. Can't wait to see the work leading up to this point as well as the progress in the future.

  4. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

    Welcome back. I had much the same when I was still employed. Interested in model trains but, a career, life and other interests kept me busy. Now I'm retired and home bound so trying to come back to this.

    Doug Gosha, Hardcoaler and Hytec like this.
  5. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    In the interest of full disclosure, it was @in2tech who persuaded me to green light this thread. We'll see how far I get down the line .... :)
    Doug Gosha, Hytec, tonkphilip and 3 others like this.
  6. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

    If you're looking for a little inspiration for your freelanced anthracite regional, look no further than the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern or as it's simply known to many as the Reading & Northern. They are a true rags to riches story operating Former Conrail / Reading lines that nobody wanted. So far they've been a very successful regional and are continuing to expand the route. A bonus is the RBM&N also runs passenger excursions with both Steam and first generation covered wagons. I'm looking forward Hardcoaler to following this thread as you build your new layout.
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  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Do you by any chance have a good link or two for RBM&N history and any maps showing their expansions?

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

    I'll second that. This should be full of interesting info.! All the work that you have shared so far looks fantastic. Looking forward to following along Hardcoaler!!!!
  9. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    What's funny is that I thought up the theme and built my first DS&N two years before the RBM&N came to life. :) As I railfanned with friends in eastern PA in the early '80s, it seemed like a natural. I'd decided upon naming it the Lehigh, Susquehanna & Northern, until I found that Hal Carstens of Carstens Publications was using that for his road. Living in NJ, I decided to swap out the Lehigh River for the Delaware River and the DS&N was born.
    Doug Gosha, Hytec, Rich_S and 4 others like this.
  10. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

  11. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    I tried my hand at making my own Kato Unitrack Terminal UniJoiners (24-818) with minimal success. The solderwork has to be exact, else the joiner won't fit back into the plastic holder. I made a rail joiner holding jig out of two carefully spaced Popsicle sticks glued to a block of wood and it works well, but my middle photo shows the mess I made of the solderwork. With a lot of rework and filing away of excess solder, I got the Unijoiner assemblies together again, but I'm not pleased with the fitment. I'd go crazy trying to turn these out en masse.

    Somewhat in my defense, my soldering iron is 40 years old and dying. In fact, it quit altogether when I was trying to clean up the joints. It won't heat at all now and the tip is nearly new.

    I suppose I should shop for a new soldering iron before I throw in the towel and buy these joiners. I could try to solder to the rail, but I'd melt the ties and roadbed for sure.

    2021-12-30 Rail Joiner Photo 1.jpg

    2021-12-30 Rail Joiner Photo 2.jpg

    2021-12-30 Rail Joiner Photo 3.jpg
  12. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

    Doesn't the track come with rail joiners?
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  13. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    You're right, but these have wires attached to feed power to the track. Mine's a DC railroad, so I need a bunch to feed various blocks. Kato's product looks like this. (I don't need the white plug though.)

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  14. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

    Oh, thought you had DCC too, apparently not? Nothing DCC?
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  15. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    Your memory is good. The railroad is being built to allow a DCC input, so it'll be both DC and DCC. It'll be primarily DC though because of the locomotives in my collection.
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  16. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    I have some notes from last year reading that @Rich_S and Brad @nscalestation bought Weller WLC100 soldering outfits and were well pleased with them. It offers all of the features I'm looking for including an on/off switch, variable heat, optional specialty tips and affordability.

  17. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

    Looks like a nice iron. I'd read the one 5 star review where they had problem with an apparent voltage at the tip destroying some static sensitive electronics and see if that might apply to you. Here is a link to what I use and have been very happy with.....

    http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/Servo Control/page-7-b.html

    I considered one where the temp is controlled in the workstation but to tell you the truth I solder everything for track wiring, decoder wiring and the very very small SMD LED's and resistors with the iron as hot as it goes (60 watt rated at 450 degrees) and just vary the time I'm on the solder join. On the SMD's it is basically tin the area the SMD sits on and ....


    .... then put them on what you are soldering to and just touch them and you are good to go. If you have to stay on any solder joint very long to get solder to flow you need to go up in heat, not longer on the joint.

    I'd say that it is time for a new iron though :)

  18. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

    I love mine. I was able to solder 26AWG Phosphor Bronze wire to brass HO trolley hangers from the top so there would be no solder droop under the wire to snag the trolley. Always(!) dab solder paste on the intended joint before heating, This cleans the joint when heated allowing the solder to flow immediately. BTW, I used Weller ST7 tips on #4 heat. They're small enough to keep the heat to within a few thousandths of an inch of the point of contact
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2021
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  19. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    I noticed that the Kato bridge piers provide more clearance than I'll ever need with Kato's Plate Girder and Truss bridges. Using the Kato piers straight out of the box will lead me to create steeper grades in excess of what's necessary. If I cut them down, my grades will be significantly less.

    I'll never run 86" auto parts high cubes on my railroad, but I use them as clearance test cars. This assures I'll not underestimate anything. As seen in the photo, I can cut a bit less than 3/4" off the height of the Kato piers and retain sufficient clearance under the Truss bridge. I'll have a bit more clearance under the Plate Girder bridge.

    Doing this will take the grade down from 2.1% to 1.6%. Worth the effort I think.

    2021-12-30 Bridge Clearance GTW High Cube.jpg
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  20. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

    As long as you don't someday decide you'd like to run double-stacked intermodal container trains...

    But I don't know yet whether those will negotiate the through-truss bridge entrances either. The bracing at the tops of the entrances to the bridge may have to be modified. I've got a set of double stack well cars somewhere; I just haven't found them since I got my layout mocked up.
    Doug Gosha and BNSF FAN like this.

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