Well, did not progress as planned enclosing the tunnel on the left. Mattie wants one or two cameras in the tunnel to watch the trains pass through. Need to do some googling and find a small camera preferably with wifi interface.
Spent some time in AnyRail to resolve how the 3 tracks will cross on the right table. Eventually had to trace the as-built of that area on to a large piece of paper and lay it out by hand. Of course the final layout requires buying a different crossing.
Spent the past two days reading up on DCC, DCC wiring, blocks, block occupancy detectors, and auto reversing section controllers. Realized while doing this reading there was one reverse loop in the layout – which is what you get when you have your head buried in a track layout program that does not understand electrical wiring; there is a 2nd reverse loop in the layout posted on May 23, but this one has been eliminated). Wow what a learning curve!
Have a plan for the wiring buses, feeders, and blocks. Will update the layout to reflect and post that soon.
Today, finished installing the risers and inclines in the area where the 3 tracks cross on the right table. All the foam is installed now.
Next up: installing plaster cloth on all the track portions, and installing track.
P.S. Added 2 great websites on model railroad wiring to the resources page.
Over the last three days, have laid plaster cloth in the tunnel (on the left) and across the section exiting from the tunnel (center back). Then laid track bed (Woodland Scenics N Scale Track Bed) and Atlas N Code 80 Super-Flex track through these sections.
During much reading about soldering track joints vs. not, and the advantages and disadvantages for electrical continuity and track expansion, have seen every opinion possible with no clear consensus. Have decided to compromise and do the following:
Stagger the rail ends about 1 inch where flex track is joined to flex track
Solder every other flex track joint (so every 60″) with the other every-other joint having just the rail joiners – to allow for expansion and contraction
Provide power feed to each 60″ section
Not solder turnouts
Up Next: test the track in the tunnel, and then enclose the tunnel; lay the track and turnouts in the train yard.
Installed profile boards around the back on May 17. The profile of the mountains actually matches that seen looking west from Louisville toward Boulder. The Flatirons are in the middle of the left table, and Longs Peak is just to the right of the far back corner of the right table. A panorama picture of the mountains projected on the wall using an iPad and a small projector make this “relatively” easy to do.
Well the biggest change since the last update was to move the tables from “the train room” upstairs to the larger “sunroom” downstairs. That required swapping everything in two rooms including a bed. The train tables were moved unscathed. There has already been talk of expanding to a third table (or more)!
Mattie has identified the major landmarks he wants to model – the pink stickies. Of course CPK and Noodles and his elementary school are on there.
Have still not resolved the mess where the descent from Mattie Mountain crosses the city loop (left middle of the right table).
Realized there was a vertical clearance problem where the descent from Mattie Mountain (clockwise around the right end of the table) was to cross over the city loop (the incomplete area on the left side of the right table). Hard to keep this straight working in 2D in AnyRail. Have increased the descent grade from Mattie Mountain to 3.4% so it will now intersect the city loop at ground level. Have not figured out how 3 tracks will cross there! AnyRail is complaining about some tight radiuses, but with a little fiddling, looks like it will work. Need to buy some crossings now. The layout I posted earlier this evening reflects this update.
Have layed foam panel for the train yard (front) and a 2% grade around the left and along the back of the table to Mattie Mountain. The yard is 1.5″ above the table surface. Mattie Mountain is a 6″ peak.
Here is the layout, designed in the AnyRail app, with Atlas N Scale Code 80 track. Each square of the grid is 3″x3″. Mattie Mountain is the area labeled as 6″ high in the upper right.
I’m running AnyRail (a Windows app) on Windows 8.1 within a VirtualBox virtual machine hosted on my 2012 MacBook Pro which is running Yosemite 10.10.3. It is rock solid and more than fast enough.
Only within the past week, I noticed that Atlas also has Track Planning Software which includes a 3D mode to better visualize the height, clearances, and scenery of your layout. I have not had a chance to try it yet. But it does run on Windows 8.1 within the same VirtualBox on my MacBook.
Here is the new 2nd Table (on the left) installed next to the original Thomas the Train Table (on the right).
The respective surface areas are 30″x78-5/8″ (left) and 35-1/8″x59-1/2″ (right).
They are built using:
1″x4″ – 8′ common boards
1/2″ 4’x8′ MDF Panels
1″ 2’x2′ Owens Corning Foamular Project Panels
The 1/2″ thick MDF Panels are inserted into a 1/2″ dado running around the side boards. The tables are then covered in Foamular Project Panels, glued down with foam friendly Loctite PL300 Foamboard Adhesive. Foamular is available in single panels large enough to cover the tables, but these 2’x2′ panels are more easily transported home in a sedan.
The new table top was constructed on April 20th, and the legs on April 29th.
My son Mattie received an boxed set N scale train for Christmas. After setting it up on his train table in place of his wooden Thomas the Train set, he quickly mastered the 4 switches – and wanted more. So we are expanding by 2X, and taking over the sunroom!
He has selected many of his favorite places in Boulder and the foothills to model including CPK and Noodles, and he wants a turntable.
Here is where we started, minus the Thomas the Train track …