Sunday, July 26, 2009

Layout Progress as of 7/26/2009

This week I completed laying the mainline track from the North End Emerson switch across the dropdown gate across the entrance to the layout room. With the installation of one Tortoise turnout motor and a bit more wiring, all of the trackwork in the Emerson area will be completed. This will allow scenery construction to begin in Emerson while track planning and construction progresses northward.

Before laying any additional track between North End Emerson and the dropdown gate, I had to superelevate the curve using strips of masking tape:

The first piece of Micro Engineering concrete tie flex track is affixed using latex caulk and held in place with several clamps carefully screwed down as to not damage the track:

While laying track on the gate, I temporarily screwed this scrap piece of 1x2" in place to make sure the gate could not be opened until the appropriate gaps had been cut in the rails:

The second section of flex track reached just a few inches short of the end of the gate roadbed for a near perfect fit:

This closeup view shows how both rails were gapped using a cutoff disc in a motor tool to allow the gate to be opened. The two sections of flex track have been soldered together (crudely since it was hard navigating the soldering iron around the gate rails!) so only one set of electrical feeders are needed along the span of the gate:

Here is the gate in the open position with the track in place:

I also applied Velcro patches to hold the removable end panels in place:

The lower level benchwork at the end of the aisle was modified to make the shelf 8" deeper. This will allow room for additional scenery to be built to disguise the non-prototypical horseshoe curve along the Emerson passing siding. The following two pictures show a before and after view of the benchwork addition:


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Layout Progress as of 7/19/2009

After a long layoff, I have continued construction on the N-scale CSX Dixie Line layout. First off, just for fun I photographed some new purchases that I recently made:

The locomotive is the brand new Atlas Dash 8-40CW lettered and numbered for Conrail #6150. I'll eventually patch this out for CSX when I get some spare time over the next decade or so. The N-scale community has been grumbling about poor quality control and the high price of this model, but I think it looks and runs great even though I have a few tweaks to make. This locomotive is very expensive (street price of about $120 for the DCC version I purchased), but I wanted to try out the new NCE decoder equipped loco with operating ditch lights. Like I said this is a great model, but at this price, I won't be stocking up anytime soon. The two Union Pacific autoracks were picked up to beef up my vehicle train roster, along with a set of Kato BNSF doublestack cars & containers (not shown).

Now to the layout progress...

I lowered a section of front board near the south end of the Emerson siding to accommodate the I-75 underpass. The scenery will drop down here to accommodate the interstate and the bridge will be built in place around the existing roadbed:

Next, I cut some end panels out of some leftover 1/8" hardboard and painted them the same shade of light sky blue used on the backdrop:

These end panels serve as scene dividers that separate the visible areas from the hidden areas of the layout. They will eventually be secured to the benchwork using Velcro so that they can easily be removed to allow for photography. The following three photos show the southernmost visible area of the layout before and after the end panels have been installed, along with a clearance check for high and wide equipment:

Here are the same three photos, but this time showing where the Emerson area of the layout adjoins the dropdown gate:

Finally, a wide view of the Emerson area showing both end panels in place: