Friday, 26 September 2014

Starting to lay the scenery base down

My Sculptamold has arrived. I think that it is a great material. The first time I used it, I mixed it 50/50 but now I see that it should be 2:1 Sculptamold to water. The only difference I can see is that it smooths out easier in the real mix. I am laying it throughout the freight yard to raise the ground up nearer the ties as I have put all of the yard track on foam track bed so it is the same height as the main. This way, it looks as though the track is lower to the ground without ripping up the track bed.

Once this area is dry, I am going to scenic it so that I am sure about the effect before I get on with the rest of the yard. I haven't cleaned up the Sculptamold droppings yet

You will notice that I have put up the back scenes - just simple painted with blue paint with some clouds overlaid. Not too artistic but good enough for me. The back scene is painted onto foam board and the board has warped at the top. However, I live in a rented apartment so can't fix (well, don't want to fix) anything to the walls. The whole railroad is actually free standing. I am just going to have to live with the tops of the back scene being a bit warped but I am concentrating on the track level anyway so I will manage.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

The track is down and all works well

I have now laid all of the track and ballasted it. In addition, I have painted the sides of all the rails in a rust colour and used the Woodlands Scenic tie marker to tone down the glossy plastic of the track.

I have ballasted the main line in a grey ballast and the yard in black cinders. I have tested all of the track and everything works fine. In fact I did have one problem. Locos travelling over one of the points into the turntable area seemed to be loosing electrical contact. When I looked at the point closely, it seems that I had omitted to put in the requisite jumper leads to ensure continuity from the switch places to the outer rails. I put in a couple of wire jumpers and now everything works beautifully.

Here is what the track looks like now.

It all looks a bit messy but when I get the ground cover down it will all sort itself out.

I have also gone carefully through the turntable programming. I now have a consistent set of track addresses. On the turntable controller they are 1 through to 5 and on the DCC controller they are 225 through to 231.

I haven't fitted the control cabin or the centre post to the turntable. I have a feeling that I would break something if I did anything there now. I will leave these until the main scenery is down in the yard.

I have ordered a 3lb bag of Sculptamold coming so this will be the basis for the ground.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Branding the SNE stock

After some long discussions on the Model Railroad Hobbyist forum, I have sorted out the S&NEs own stock. I have made some decals using a white sheet of decal paper and putting everything onto a black background. So far, I have done the two steam locos and the one hopper that is owned by the S&NE. I have to say that the opinion out there is that my steam loco logo is too modern. However, I designed this in 1969 and it has been with me ever since. The layout is meant to be in the late 50's and the critics may well be right but "it's my party and I'll cry if I want to", if you see what I mean - smile.

Firstly, the loco:

Next, we have the hopper car:

The Sunset and North Eastern connects the New Haven at Hartford CT to the Boston & Maine (B&M) at Boston MA via the newly created town of Sunset (close to the actual town of Worcester). The total mileage is 104 miles with Sunset 58 miles from Hartford and 46 miles from Boston. It runs its own way freights from Hartford to Boston using Sunset as a division point. It does't have any passenger equipment so that is handled by a Budd RDC from the New Haven that makes runs over the 104 miles a couple of times a day. In addition, the B&M runs the main freights between the two ends. I have yet to work out the proper timetable so this is just an estimate of what will happen. 
The Budd RDC is currently being fitted with a sound decoder so will appear in a few days time (hopefully). Also in the works is an 0-6-0 switcher which will be based at Sunset. This is also being fitted with DCC sound. In the meantime, we have acquired a B&M RS-3 (again with DCC sound fitted).

We now have a couple of extra cabooses so I will be converting one of these to a B&M caboose to go with the RS-3. This will be interesting because it requires white lettering. I am going to attempt this using dry rub down lettering onto a clear decal sheet under varnish. I might just work!

Current job - I am laying ballast in the freight yard. I am using Woodland Scenics cinders. It is quite a long job so I had better get back to work.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Sunset & North Eastern - Trains run all over - at last

I have now finished laying the track to the plan. The schematic looks like this:

I have a short video showing the layout in situ.

The turntable is a Walthers/Heljan DCC turntable. It installed and worked very easily. However, now that I have seen the trains running and having got the turntable working, I can see that it needs another couple of additions.

Firstly, the station is intended to be the mid-point on a short feeder line between two other railroads - currently assumed to be the New Haven and the Boston & Maine (to please a friend who lives in Connecticut!). As such, a lot of the trains will be going straight through. However, the S&NEs own freights will stop here and change locos - as they only have these small 2-6-0 Moguls. Hence the turntable and engine facilities. I realised when looking at the layout that there were two flaws. Where could I put the coal and water facilities and there wasn't a caboose track. A small tweak to the design came up with the following:

The second track to the turntable enables me to have the following "workflow". The loco comes from the train and enters the lower left hand turntable feed. Here it can dump its ash, put on water and coal and move to its storage track. When leaving the engine facility to take on a train, it leaves by the upper turntable feed. The extra track below the water/coal feed is the new caboose track. This should make the loco operations much more interesting.

I also realised that there wasn't a LCL/Freight House spur for the station, which will sit along the top of the layout on the top most line of the runaround. I plan to put in a left hand switch facing right along that side of the runaround which will solve that problem

I have now ordered the extra switches that I need for these changes and will post more when they are installed. Just so that you know, the two areas of staging at both ends will eventually be joined via a new station on the opposite wall. This will give me a continuous run as well as a single staging track on both side. This will have to wait until I have got a long way with what I have. "She who must be obeyed" (see Rumpole of the Bailey if you don't know that reference) - AKA SWMBO - says that I have to get some scenery and people down before I move on. She seems to think that I only ever lay track and tear it up later without doing any more. I point out that I did put some scenery down once on a N Scale layout about 4 years ago (see earlier posts in my blog) but she thinks that this was a one off.