New layout in the works.

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by nolatron, Feb 22, 2007.

  1. nolatron

    nolatron Member

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    Just some shots of the scenery work I started the other day. I've done more bracing and masking tape since I took these. I'll get a shot of that soon.


    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    And the helix got its first test run too. Working great so far.


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  2. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

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    Looks really good Shaun!
  3. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

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    That Helix looks AMAZING Shaun!!!!! :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
  4. seanm

    seanm Member

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    Very nice!! What is the clearance between helix levels. Top of ply to bottom of ply??
  5. nolatron

    nolatron Member

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    There's 2" of clearance.
  6. nolatron

    nolatron Member

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    Today I worked on connecting the helix to the upper level, the mainline at least. Just need to connect the siding to the turnout.


    [​IMG]


    The turnout will be located behind the backdrop, so I installed an LED indicator next to the pushbutton switch. Green = mainline, Red = siding.


    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Like the turnout power, I installed a second RJ11 jack for the LED wiring (shown to the right of the tortoise).



    Power is carried up to the box, routes through the tortoise, then back down to the LED on the lower level fascia via RJ11 (Telephone) cable to another box (connected to the LED wiring). The hole under the pushbutton is for the lower level helix entry turnout pushbutton, to be installed soon.
  7. nolatron

    nolatron Member

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    So here's my current layout plans roughly:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]






    Now currently, my staging idea is a swing staging "bridge", which contains 3 tracks on each level of varying length. Max about 5.5' It 'works', but it's really limiting my train length.
    [​IMG]


    A new idea I'm thinking of is adding a staging level underneath the lower level. This would give space for more longer staging tracks, and would be sorta hidden behind my curtain.
    [​IMG]


    I would replace the lower level bridge will just a track run along the wall as it makes a 2% grade down to the staging area.
    [​IMG]


    Then there's the upper level. I don't have space to add a upper staging level, so I thought I could add on the upper level some track that would turn the train back into the helix on the inner loop to send it back down to the lower level and then to staging.​
    [​IMG]




    The only caveat is that the train would have to pass through the lower level twice, but so far this is probably the best idea I've come up with for expanding my staging area to accomodate more trains and longer trains.
  8. nolatron

    nolatron Member

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    Here's a little rundown of some of the progress I've made on the layout.

    I got the tortoise and throwbar for the turnout on the upper level just outside the helix installed. This will be the east turnout on the siding through Elmwood. I also installed the tortoise on the lower level helix turnout.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I have it placed in its general location, but here is one of my two cantilever signal bridges. These were custom made by Custom Signal Systems and are operational with a Red/Green LED. See the video post below for a demo.

    [​IMG]

    Got my 2nd order in for Humpyard throws, so my GERN industry now has all it's turnouts completed.

    [​IMG]

    Just some pics of scenery progress, not a whole lot really. Little more tape in the corner, and moved the feed industry to the back.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I installed a Grade Crossing Pro module on the lower level road. I"m using photocells for detection on this unit. Works pretty well.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a video demo of the crossing (the cross bucks are NJ International)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZTGo6rWIpI

    And lastly, my tunnel portal from Alkem Scale Models arrived. This is a B&O double track portal with a custom engraving of 2006, the year my wife and I married.

    The portal looks fantastic. I'll eventually paint it one of these days :)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  9. Packers#1

    Packers#1 Ultimate Packers Fan

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    Looks great Shaun.
  10. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

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    Looks great Shaun. I also loved the clip of the sound decoder in the SD90.
  11. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

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    Nice Progress Shaun!!! Keep it up :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
  12. thumsup

    thumsup Member

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    :wave:Shaun, my hat is off to your ability to stay focused.:inw:

    Joe :thumb:
  13. fifer

    fifer Active Member

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    Shaun , I put some Berkshire Junction crossbucks on my layout and they are fantastic attention getters. Your signals look great.
    Keep the pics coming.
    Mike
  14. nolatron

    nolatron Member

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    Cut my access hole to the inside of the helix finally. Made doing the final wiring a breeze. The inner and outer tracks are now wired to be as their own blocks. Just need to cut the rail gaps.


    [​IMG]




    One issue I've been dealing with lately is the track at the end of the lower level, primarily one spot where a switch and some flex track join keeps giving me problems. So I just yanked up all the track from the track crossing to the end of the benchwork and will re-lay it down. I'll also add a hint a super-elevation to the curve here too as I re-do it.


    [​IMG]


    And lastly a peek at my new staging cassette project to replace my "swing bridge". I'll have more details on this next week or so when I get the first tray completed.


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  15. nolatron

    nolatron Member

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  16. fifer

    fifer Active Member

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    Shaun , That is a cool video. I would like some info on the storage of the cassetttes.
    Thanks , Mike

    :thumb:
  17. nolatron

    nolatron Member

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    Sure thing. I'm using a pretty basic method of storage.

    I'm (2) 1.5" (I think 1.5") L-brackets for each cassette on one of the walls, secured to a wall stud. Here's a look at the bracket installed on the wall.

    [​IMG]

    I added some rubber liner stuff I found at Lowe's to help keep the cassette from slipping and to the keep the metal brackets from scratching the paint. Even with several coats of primer and black spray paint the tiniest knick with chip it. Annoying.

    The brackets are just the right size though for the channel:
    [​IMG]


    I'm thinking of going with the 2" brackets instead to a have little "safety space" there. They work pretty good as is now, but just in case.

    And here's what they look like when stored on the wall (the wire hanging will eventually be cut and wired to copper strips on that lower cassette):
    [​IMG]

    I'm gonna space them apart a little more to give my hand some more room when removing/putting in cassettes. Something I didn't think about the first time around. I was mainly thinking of car clearance, and not adding in handling room.

    The silver shelf at top will be taken down to make room for more cassettes, and it'll probably won't even be needed since all the cars will be in staging cassettes. I'm starting off with 6 cassettes and will grow as needed.
  18. fifer

    fifer Active Member

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    Thanks Shaun , also are they OK to carry?
    I would likely dump them out the end while tripping over dogs and cats!!
    Also I assume they are reversable to run the train off.
    Thanks for the pics and info. I like the system.

    Mike
  19. nolatron

    nolatron Member

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    Hah! They're not to terrible to manage actually. Just need to take my time moving them around when loaded. The tall sides and "just big enough" width helps keep things from tipping over too.

    Correct. Each side of the cassette will have copper strips on the bottom for power pickup. So to turn a train around I simply need to turn the cassette around.

    Thanks! All that unitrack came from FHS! :thumb:
  20. fifer

    fifer Active Member

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    Cool Shaun! I could see that the sides were pretty tight and would work well as long as not tipped end to end too far.
    I really like the set-up.
    Mike