Posted by: bgtwindad | October 15, 2010

Layout Update 15 Oct 2010

It’s been a while since I posted a general update on the status of the layout.  Track work continued apace to the point where both yards and the outer mainline have been laid.  There are several trouble spots that require attention, and in particular both of the curved grades on either end of the layout may need to be ripped out and completely rebuilt.  But trains are running.

ON one end, the track is not level across the rails, which actually generates a nice superelevated effect, except that the outboard ties are floating up in the air. I will need to reseat that track and make sure it follows a level profile around the curve.  I believe the grade is otherwise acceptable here.

On the other end, I have realized that the lower half of the grade is actually level, creating an overly steep grade at the very bottom leading into the staging yard turnouts.  This is creating some issues with cars derailing when shoved forward by the cars behind them.  In this case, the only choice will be to lift up the track and regrade the subroadbed to a more consistent slope.

Most of the rest of the work needed appears to be routine track rehab:  vacuuming up stray bits of foam, cleaning the rails, filing down solder joints and frog guard rails, and so on.  I’m working these out one at a time as I find them while running trains.

Next up is to build the big Central Valley Truss Bridge for the upper loop (it’s on its way) and the second MicroEngineering Deck Bridge for the mine yard.  These will need to be installed (along with the other upper bridge, which is an RTR Kato plate girder bridge) to complete the track work.  After that, all that will be left is the Town Branch, which I don’t want to commit to until I finalize the town and industry design.  In the meantime, I have a temporary piece of track tacked down to allow cars to be spotted.

In general, I’m learning a few lessons about track design.  Like how important it is to leave space between the track for scenery, and how hard it is to reach across a 38″ table.  And how easy it is to derail a train by forgetting to throw a switch.  I’ve successfully installed a Caboose Industries Ground Throw, and worked out the positions required to work an Inglenook Sidings puzzle in the town yard.

Even after running operations, I’m fairly pleased with the design.  For a single operator, it will be important to provide easy access to both sides, and adding power remote switches will help tremendously with that.  I need to get my mind started considering detailed scenery design, but I can’t help having some fun running trains and wondering about how to connect an expansion.

I’m already considering how to connect a removable platform for a wye and an intermodal yard…

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