Tuesday, 12 May 2020

N Scale Sunset and North Eastern startup

Now I have it up and running I can give a fuller description of what is going on.

The layout is definitely 5' long by 10" wide with a 27" x 4"  extension for storage. All the track is laid and the point motors installed.

I tried the NCE system but had forgotten how pedestrian these controllers are. After my ECoS, everything seemed so difficult to select. Want to switch a point? Select Accessory, press a number corresponding to the point, press enter and then either 1 or 2 depending on the switch direction. On the ECoS - see the point you want (with an extended description), touch the point and see it move with a visual indication of the direction! No contest. I packaged the NCE up and sold it on EBay. It sold in 30 minutes of putting it up.

I decided that, as the layout was close at hand and quite small, I would like to have a hand controller and purchased the ECoS Mobile Station. This is like a mobile phone except it has a big speed control know fitted. I know that I could have used my phone using Engine Driver software but that would require my computer to be running JMRI and I wouldn't have the knob.

I decided, after spending some time with the SEEP point motors, that I could live with them. There seemed little point in shelling out £200 for 8 Cobalt motors. The TrainTec boxes work the motors nicely. I don't like the clunk that you get every time one moves but I can live with that.

I sorted out my loco situation. N Scale American Trains shipped me an Atlas Alco S2 switcher along with a 6 pin Digitrax decoder. It turned out that I hadn't fried the GP7 Digitrax decoder - just not connected it up correctly. Now I have two working DCC locos. I have bought a third one - an Atlas GP35 - from Rails of Sheffield and Coastal DCC have delivered yet another Digitrax decoder ready to go inside.

I have amassed 20 freight cars and 2 passenger coaches and have a caboose coming. This little(!) collection enables be to run some local freights, some short unit trains of gondolas and some short passenger trains. All of these are constructed by my Car Card software, of which more later.

OK, now some photos to bring you up to speed. Firstly, the basic desk.

Now, the desk with the railroad board in place. As you can see the desk is plenty big enough for the railroad and still have a usable desk.

Now the storage extension.

As you can see, the extension fits across the top of the printer. The printer is on a set of craft drawers that are on wheels so can be wheeled out from underneath as the track is self supporting. Everything is strong enough for me to lift the railway up and over to place it at the front of the desk for close working.

I was waiting for the Cobalt motors to come back into stock before I ballasted the track - I was going to have to lift each point to remove the spring. However, now I am staying with the SEEP motors, I can get on with the work. In the meantime, I started on some buildings. I realise the Exxon is too late for my railroad and should be ESSO or Texaco but Exxon was the only tank car I could get so it made sense to work with what I have. Rule 1 applies here (Rule 1. It is my railroad!). 

The two tanks are made from the inside core of a roll of toilet paper (if you are from the UK - think Blue Peter:-). The office is from a book called Easy-to-build Model Railroad Structures - a Kalmbach book from the 1950s that cost me $1 when I was a lad. The next structure is from a downloaded file that I printed onto an A4 sticky label before mounting on some foam core. The plant name and message were created in Inkscape and stuck on over the originals (a furniture factory).

The third industry that I have built to date is "Blum's Lumber Co.". This is a name that I stole from Frank Ellison, whose book 'On Model Railroads' has been a bible to me ever since I started at 10 years old.

This is all constructed of 40mm matchsticks (I bought a bag of 5,000 from Amazon for little money).  The roof is Evergreen corrugated plastic. The office was designed by me as a typical type of building - again out of Evergreen sheets.

Lastly, I am currently fitting a roof to the layout so that I can install some LED lighting. The roof is removable so that I can get to the back. It should light up really nicely.

The bits of paper that you can see are where the other industries are going. The sticky notes are to remind me which is which!