Eastern Tn logging on the DG CC & W RR 1928

Discussion in 'Logging, Mining and Industrial Railroads' started by Bill Nelson, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    SML 5th lv shlf.jpg SML5th lvl lp.jpg progress

    I came up with a relatively easy way to raise the track up above 6 feet to allow me to walk under int in order to enter or leave the railroad room.


    I had originally planned on making the benchwork over the storage cabinet a neatly built box, with a recess in the bottom that would fit tightly on the steel storage cabinet I got lazy and used gorilla glue to secure 2x4s to the top of the cabinet. if this construction ever has to come off too bad, cause the benchwork and the cabinet are unlikely to survive the forces needed to separate them.


    I'm going to add some more risers on the front of the cabinet area to better support the plywood sub road bed, but I'm waiting to do that, as I think I can make a little piece of dramatic scenery there, probably involving two bridges and three or four waterfalls, so I want to do some careful thinking before I put the risers in so they won't be in the way, and so that some extra bracing can be added, as cutting that plywood anywhere will reduce the strength considerably. I may end up leaving the plywood in place. and casting and carving a masonry bridge to fit around it, like I did down in Montgomery Furnace.


    My original plan was to have this top shelf plain sterile staging, but I'm thinking now that some rudimentary scenery might be in order. Including an iron mine, and a logging camp . If I could do that and have two passing sidings, and a short siding , just long enough to park a goose on, then that; along with what is available down in Ridgemont/Statline and the Georgia staging would allow me to have two iron ore trains, two log trains, two passenger trains, two freight trains, and two geese ready to go just about any time.


    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  2. S class

    S class Member

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    you really need to give us some around the room shots so that we can full appriciate the scope of your room and layout bill.
  3. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    sml wide  angle  #1.jpg Wideangle#2.jpg


    That is easier said than done, The room is about fifteen feet wide and twenty three feet long, with knee walls so the side walls come up just above waist high before the 45 degree sloped ceiling begins. The long aisle, fronting Crooked creek and Downtown Harlow is three feet wide, and the smaller aisle, behind Harlow is only two feet wide. the largest open space in the whole room is six feet between the end of the Harlow (2nd level) and the Gizzard (mountainous area that is simultaneously on the fourth and fifth levels) and the northern wall. there are about two and a half feet of storage cabinets on the north wall.

    In any case the whole operation is so thoroughly crammed into the available space, that in most cases there are no angles of sight that allow you to see more than the scene that is just in front of you. This is frustrating when I try to get a photo that shows how this is all put together, but it is great when running the railroad, because as you move from scene to scene, and level to level; you can't see the last place you were, and you can't see where you are going. That, in conjunction with my super slow geared locomotives, and the dramatic changes in altitude, helps give the the train operator a powerful illusion that these trains are traveling a lot farther than they really are.

    Because of this, and the multi level design, it is very difficult to get photos that much of the whole room. I will try again, as my new camera has a wider angle lens than my old one did. Right now, with the construction going on it is a mess, but I'll grab my camera, go up there, and see what I can do.

    The wide angle lens really doesn't help with this situation. what I can do , perhaps is dig out my original construction plans, scan them and upload them. What i built has changed dramatically from my original plans, but those original plans might give a good picture of how this railroad fits this space,

    both of these photos were taken with the camera on maximum wide angle, with the camera body touching the far wall. the composition of each is compromised, because I could not see the display. the chaos of the construction does show though.

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  4. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    SML hmst rdbd #1.jpg SML hmst rdbd #2.jpg progress with sub road bed

    I have made some progress with the subroadbed on my extension of the narrow gauge on the top shelf.

    the sheetrock screws just clamp the homasote down until the glue tries, and then will be removed, so they don't transmit any noise into the plywood. I'll fill in the screw holes with acrylic spackling and then paint the homasote with acrylic paint to seal it so it won's suck up moisture, and expand and contract with humidity variations.


    That is important, as I have had unsealed homasote hold enough mousture to rust out spikes on hand layed track. Also the homasote sucking up , and holding moisture seriously complicates the ballasting process. I will probably use some cellucaly (sp), a paper mache product available at Hobby Lobby, to add sloped shoulders to the roadbed, but that might not happen until after the track is down. It will be fun to have the narrow gauge go somewhere now that I have had this explosion of HON3 power.

    Soon I will be ready to paint the sub road bed and start extending the track. A careful inventory has showed me that I am almost out of the tiny DPDT switches I use as ground throws. this is a pain, as Radio Shack no longer stocks them, nor does my local electronics supply store. I am also having difficulty locating blank pieced of printed circuit board, which I cut up to make parts for handlaid switches.

    I did find a single dpdt switch, and several spst switches, I can use to replace some dpdt switches in some on my turntable lead control pannels, but that will be a lot of work for switches I used to be able to get any time for less than $0.75 each.

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  5. Hoorhaylowe

    Hoorhaylowe New Member

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    Hey Bill what thickness homasote is that?
  6. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    It is nominally 1/2 inch. in reality there is some variation above and below that, not enough to be an issue with flex track but some joints have required belt sanding.


    This is the first time in years I have used a 4x8 sheet of homasote on my home RR in 30 years, as the stuff has not been available in Clarksville. I happened upon some in a Lowe's here, and bought a sheet, but they have not had it since. I should have bought four sheets, I love the stuff.


    Most of my railroad is built on Homabed from the California road bed company. I found some small scraps , so I will photograph the tiny pieces for show and tell. it is really good stuff, is milled to a roadbed profile like cork roadbed, but has the superior spike holding and sound deadening capabilities of homasote.

    I cut the homasote to width with my 10 inch tablesaw, and then cut the notches that let it flex to follow the curves (16 inch radius) with my 4 inch Dremil tablesaw. The dremil saw is way underpowered for this tupe of work, but it has a much finer kerf, and so did not leave gaping holes in the roadbed, so it was worth the extra time it took to feed the saw painfully slow to cut the notches.

    The next step is to sand the surface to smooth it out and then to paint it to seal it. on the weekend I have been working on my trains mainly in the middle of the night to mimic my work schedule. My Railroad room is adjacent to my son's room, but one half a level higher. Forrester was home fro spring break, and I was hesitant to use the noisy sander, but he has gone back to college , so tonight I can sand and paint, and perhaps start to prep the switches for installation. I work from midnight until eight, so that I will be tired enough to get some good sleep tomorrow.

    I also have my Subaru Baja up on jack stands, so I could check the front brakes, as they are making a weird noise . I had plenty of pad left, so the noise ( a weird whistle like sound that goes away when the brake is applied) is just a nuisance issue, so I did not have to do a break job this weekend, (Thank you Lord Jesus!). One good thing that came of this is in order to but the Baja out of the rain, My wife's Miata came out of hibernation, and I have been driving it, and that has been so much fun after two and a half months of adrenaline deprivation

    Bill Nelson
  7. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    sml prewire microeng sw #1.jpg prewired microeng sw #2.jpg SMl sealed rdbd.jpg tracklaying preperations

    I have painted the homasote. I usually seal the homasote with artists acrylic grey in the area's that have limestone ballast and red where the ballast is spilled iron ore . I didn't have enough grey paint on hand, but did have some white primer left over from rebuilding my bathroom last fall, so I sealed the homasote with white primer. it is not very satisfying to look at right now, but some day it will be covered up.

    While the paint was drying I made some solder connections to the underside of some micro engineering HON3 switches. these switches look really nice, and have performed well in my tests. electrically they are different from the shinoharra Hon3 switches, and my home made ones since they are designed to be DCC friendly. I am wiring them up to have a hot frog, and to be power routing.


    I'm soldering the leads on the bottom of the rail, before installing the switches. This way the wires will pretty much disappear when the track is ballasted. Of course when the solder joints break, it will get ugly making repairs.

    I am almost ready to start laying track, and a lack of DPDT switches is my biggest drawback. I have some in some control panels that I can replace with some SPST switches, which I have enough of, it will just be a painful process.

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  8. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    SML pns gry rdbd #1.jpg SML pns gry rdbd #2.jpg more paint/ sealant

    more paint/ sealant has been put on the homasote. the first coat whas done for economy; Leftover Sherman Williams primer (pro stainblocker?) . any white shinning through is a no no though. in painting scenery my guiding principle is to paint dark to start with, and the lighter later. That way if there is a crack or a crevice that escapes later scenery work, it comes out as a dark shadow.

    For this reason, I love big tubes of artists acrylics in a color called Paine's grey. this is a nice dark grey. Where I already had track bent and cut to shape, I soldered my rail joints, lifted the track up, and painted the pain's grey on thickly on underneath , and put the track back down. as the paint fried, it glued the track down. I am in the process of wiring up a spdt switch to serve as a ground throw for the 1st switch, and simultaneously power the frog. and through jumper wires, make this micro engineering switch into a power routing switch, so that when a train is parked on the track which the points are not aligned for. there will be no power to that section of track, and other trains can be operated on the other branch of the track.


    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  9. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    SML gnd thrw #1.jpg SML gnd thrw #2.jpg SML gnd thrw #3.jpg SMl gnd throw #4.jpg SML gnd thrw #1.jpg SML gnd thrw #2.jpg SML gnd thrw #3.jpg SMl gnd throw #4.jpg Ground throws DGCC&W style

    In my youth I had a lot of maintenance and repair issues with electrically powered switch machines. In 1972, my parents moved to Atlanta GA. I had been building a large RR with several friends in a freinds basement, and left all my track with them.


    When I started my new layout I used Peco switches, which with their sprung points, don't need ground throws. I designed that railroad for hand held throttles, and put all switches within reach of the aisles.


    As I got to the far end of the railroad I started hand laying track, and needed to come up with an economical and reliable ground throw system. Many of the first switches I built were stub switches, and I needed a way to bend the iron and power the frog, and that is when I came up with the idea of using small switches both as ground throws and to power the frog for power routing switches.


    I have used this system everywhere on my railroad, except where on some hidden staging i have used Peco switches, that with the sprung points don't require ground throws.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  10. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    SML STH srvs th nw sdng.jpg How it works

    I select a switch, either a spdt or a dpdt where the throw is close to the throw of the points. I drill a hole through the plastic handle part of the switch and run a wire through that that is then hooked to the throw bar of the switch.

    The center terminal of the switch is hooked up to a green wire that will be connected to the frogs and both the middle rails of the switch. a red and black wire is hooked to the outside (stock) rails of the track switch and the outside terminals of the track switch. I find it easier to hook wires on to the switch and the electrical switch seperately. and hook them together under the layout. that way If I install the electrical switch backwards, I can swap the wires under the layout and won't have to dissasemble it and turn it around. when the switch is thrown in one direction, power from the stock rail which contacts the point, is diverted via the electrical switch to the frog and the two center rails on the diverging side of the switch. this leave one of the tracks with tweo rails of the same polarity, so trains on that track won't run, and the other track has two rails of differing polarity, and that track runs.

    The first switch is powered up, so I have two functioning tracks up in Gegokayoosa, and can park one train up there while running another.


    Sir Toppum hat (The fat controller in the original Thomas the Tank Engine books, written before the age of PC) was my youngest son Joey's toy. Joey would put Sir Toppum Hat where ever My current construction project was, so that my work could be properly supervised. Joey passed away from a rare heart lung disorder back in 2002, but Sir Toppum Hat is still supervising my construction projects.


    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  11. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    I have ground throws in and wired for 3 switches including the switch for the return loop, which incorporates the reversing switch for the return loop in it. this is a compromise, which will require a train to make a water stop on the loop. during which the switch can be thrown, it will be necessary then to throw the direction switch on the walkaround throttle then also, before the locomotive can continue around the loop. The traditionoal method would leave the loop alone, and reverse the rest of the layout, so the train can continue unhindered, but I did not want to think about the complexities that reversing the polarity might introduce to all that fancy dual gauge trackage in Ridgemont.

    three more switches and I will be working on a log camp and a large iron ore mine.

    Bill Nelson
  12. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    reversing loop is in!

    The reversing loop is in. right now it has two shinohara #4 switches in it, I don't have the ground throw/electrical controls in, I just have the points spiked iover for the main, not an ideal set up, but it does allow the loop to function, and funtion it does!


    The bad part of this is now I want a return loop for the other end of the narrow gauge


    Bill Nelson
  13. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

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    Way to go Bill!!! Do you have do any special wiring for this reverse loop?
    I am looking forward to a test run of your narrow guage pike.......and maybe cut up some 5/8" cedar for my outdoor's narrow guage pike???

    doc Tom
  14. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    SML  New  SL pass  train #1.jpg SML irn mine #1.jpg The iron ore mine track is in, and so is the track for the logging camp in Gegokayoosa.


    Here is a photo of the mine track. where the black foam core is, will either be ore bins, or if I put them on the other side of the track; cribbing. the buildings are from my old Bumpass module. I was hoping to recycle them, and save myself some work, but it will take a lot of work to modify them to fit, so I will probably end up scratchbuilding the iron ore mine.


    The other photo is a Narrow gauge passenger train, which is almost ready to come out of the shops. Some of the couplers are high, so t will take some judicious filing on the bolsters to get them a little lower. This train is parked on one of the tracks that will be visually a part of the logging camp. although operationally is will probably be a staging track for a passenger train , a freight train, or a mixed train.

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  15. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    SML Gegokayoosa  gers  interesting.jpg

    The traditional way to wire a reverse loop for DC is to have the loop constant, and reverse the polarity on the rest of the layout . or block, while the train is on the loop. No way I'm doing that. My brain hurts when I think of what problems reversing the polarity down in Ridgemont/State line with all that dual gauge track might cause,

    instead I have a reversing circuit wired into the ground throw for the switch to the return loop. This way the polarity of the return loop is always correct for the end of the loop that the switch is thrown for.

    This requires that the train must stop while traversing the return loop. while it is stopped, the switch is thrown, and, at that time the reversing switch on the walk around throttle is thrown at the same time. The train can then continue on in the original direction, and traverse the loop, and end up facing the opposite direction.

    This evening Jennifer and I went to The Great Easter Vigil. The Longest service the the Episcopal Church has to offer. Before that we had listened to the Predators-Redwings Hockey game on the radio, where our Predators won seconds into overtime, Clinching a play off spot .

    between working last night, the hockey game and the Easter vigil I have had about three hours of sleep in the last elleven hours. I came back from church and played with trains. GegoKayoosa has the potential to get interesting, as seen in this photo.

    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  16. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

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    Very busy place and all NARROW GUAGE!!! Very nice.
    Dr Tomaussie
  17. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    an actual locomotive assignment has come out of this too. My tiny Keystone/NWSL shay doesn't like the 16 inch radius loop, which is right at it's minimum, and it stalls at the tight spots. The iron ore mine's access is off of the loop, so it can't go around the loop or reach the ore mine. Therefore, it is permanently assigned to running loggs from the yet undetailed logging camp to the reload in Ridgemont, and turning the locomotive is not needed for that service.


    Bill Nelson
  18. S class

    S class Member

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    hey bill could you do me a big favour? set you camera to macro and take a close up of those electrical switches you're using to run your points - I'm using the atlas line of code 80's for my N scale set up but I need a way to keep the points set and I would rather not have the expense of swicth motors if I can avoid it so I want to use SPST switches like you have, but I have no idea how to fit the two rods into the toggle of the switch.
  19. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    SML GNDTH #1.jpg SML GNDTHW #2.jpg SNL GNDTHW#3.jpg switch.

    Here is one of the tiny switches I have used on my narrow gauge. they ate actually spdt. I prefer dpdts, but only because I can wire both sides the same way, which gives me redundancy in case the contacts mess up later.


    When I first started doing this almost forty years ago, I used to heat sewing pins red hot, and push them through the plastic toggle. the hot pin would melt through the plastic, and I'd be in business.

    At some point, they started using a much harder engineering plastic, which as a much higher melting point.


    Now I use a tiny drill to drill a hole through the toggle. On my hand laid switches I insert a sewing pin through the hole, but a tiny bronze or brass tube over the pin; solder the tube to the printed circuit throw bar, and bend the end of the pin at the far end of the tube to lick the tube and the throttle together.

    With commercial switches I use a single rod made of phosphor bronze, which I get from Micro Mark. I run the bar under the plastic throw rod for the switch, and have the end bent up to stick through a hole. I make a ninety degree bend in the rod, and run the rod through the switch. the bend has got to be in just the right place, and the ninety degree offset has to be just long enough to account for differences in the throw of the electrical switch, and the throw of the track switch. since I don't have the pin head to secure the end of the phosphor bronze wire in place, I bend it around the toggle.

    Aesthetically this isn't Ideal. but this system is relatively bullet proof. I have been using this method since 1974, and have been very satisfied with the reliability of this system. I have had to replace only four switches since 1974, and three of them were some of the earliest ones, which had the softer plastic toggles. The toggle broke off on all three of those. the other failure was caused by my error. while ballasting I got wet water and diluted elmers glue into the electrical switch . In any case, this is less than one failure a year on what has become a rather elaborate system.

    Visitors have no problem with the switch controls (although some of the nuances of power routing switches surprise them from tome to time). I like this method. It is cheap and reliable, and gets the job done. I started doing this when I first started building stub switches, and could not rely on the contact at the points to power the frog. Later I found my stub switches were more reliable than my point switches, and I extended the use of this method to point switches as well.


    I hope these photos help


    Bill Nelson
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  20. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    sml  switch.jpg 00ps

    missed one
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015