Yeah. It’s been a while. Don’t worry, it’s me, not you.
So what’s been happening on the layout of late? Not a whole lot to be frank. We’re in the middle of packing prior to a move back to Melbourne (Vic not FLA). As a result I’ve been clearing, cleaning and packing, books, models, tools and so on, while still trying to fit in holiday time and work.
I’ve not been completely idle; just short of available time to write and blog and post stuff. I’ve yet to complete Part 3 – building trestles – but it’s close. For now I’d love to give you a quick update on where I’m up to: putting down cork and track laying.
As shown in previous posts the track outline, feed points, frog wiring and so on is drawn on the foam prior to lifting all of the track and prepping for cork to go down. A couple of weeks ago I got the mainline, and the spur into scrappy’s completed one day. Then sanded the entirety of the laid cork to get it smooth.
Here’s an overview of what that looks like to date:
Click on the image to go full size. The spur into Scrappy (lower right) had two separate heights of cork laid. The higher one for the mainline and the thinner one for the spur itself. They were then sanded (power) to blend them in so that the spur drops from the mainline to the spur height and on the end of the spur I sanded it right down to the foam height as I want to have the track disappear into the scenery here.
You’ll note that I’ve dug the trenches in the foam for the wire-in-tube switching for the turnouts. These will be operated by double pole – double throw switches from beyond the end of the baseboard. These will be wired from under the board and will switch frog polarity also. Some more images of this below:
Trenching complete to the turnout, including the cutout for the movement of the rod to move the turnout
The brass rod in place showing how I intend to operate the turnouts from the layout edge
The brass rod has yet to be drilled through the layout edge. Aiming to get that done this weekend Then the wire can be inserted into the tube and mounted to switch in preparation for the dpdt switched to be mounted.
I’ll sign off for now. I’m expecting an enforced period of recovery later in the week, where I hope to get more work done on the layout. I aim to be at running status before we move in late november so I’d better get my tail in gear.
We moved back to Australia in 2006. So, I have to live through others when they visit David Barrow in Austin Texas, my wife’s hometown, and where we spent 10 years from 1997. Trevor Marshall visited recently and came away with a great post on the man and his layouts – including his new small (comparatively speaking) O scale layout which really piqued my interest.
David Barrow’s layouts
Hi – my name is Andrew – and I’m a David Barrow fan boy tragic…
I first remember reading about David Barrow’s Cat Mountain and Santa Fé layout in the 1980s in Model Railroader magazine. As a young man, dreaming about my large future model railway plans, David’s layouts (there were at my last count about 17 versions of the Cat Mountain) were my ideal. While I dream of those massive layouts still I took another path to small layout designs.
Recently David Barrow has followed down that rabbit hole, this time in O scale, with a new layout. You can read more about that in the second link below by Trevor Marshall.
David’s layout design and presentation skills are unique in the hobby. Not to everyone’s taste I’ll grant, yet having seen and operated on the layout once in 2005, I did not notice its minimal scenic treatment. I was too interested in the operational side of things.
Image 1: Davids Barrow’s entire O Scale layout – battery-powered and operated by radio
Once again the layout design is the centre of attention and the scenic treatment is classic David Barrow – minimalist. However, you can use the design and then scenic it to your heart’s content. Hmmm – now let me see – I have 3 boards in the garage on which that layout design would fit perfectly…
You can out more on this layout in the Model Railroad Planning 2018 publication from Kalmbach.
I particularly like the fact that Trevor uses a single style of padlock to lock the switches along with a length of chain. This ensures that all switches must be unlocked before use, and relocked after use as happens on the 1:1 railroad.
As Trevor says in the blog post, they are more expensive than other simpler options. However, I think that if you have a small layout, and realistic operation is your thing, then the cost is worth it. And they’ll last forever.
I’ve wanted to share this post for a long time, but only recently found all the links again after long searching. I hope you enjoy reading about this and get inspired.
Visit Trevor’s article on using the switch stands in the Model Railroad Hobbyist Magazine here. If you have not already subscribed to this excellent free magazine yet – I implore you to do so forthwith!Trevor
I’ve been without a modelling space, a dedicated out of the line of fire, not on the kitchen table, leave all your stuff out, style space since the late 80s. A recent move has seen us in a larger space with two spare rooms and a space for our library.
Over my 2 week break from work I’ve gone through my boxes, trying to find all of my collected modelling tools, and I have for the most part succeeded. I’m still missing some critical stuff like my Chopper 2 and Duplicutter along with my set of beading tools that I use to cut a range of river heads. There in a box somewhere but for the life of me I cannot find the blessed thing. Same goes for the NWSL products. I know they’re there, I just cannot say quite where that is for now.
I’ve emptied my mobile toolkits (large and small fishing tackle boxes, and carry totes) to get all of my tools and bits out of the dark and onto the table – making the space look like a the remains of a tornado. So no photos yet – I do have some pride. However, in the short space of time I’ve managed to part complete three little rebuilds from Athearn BB kits, which is more modelling that I have been able to complete in quite a while.
There is a bit of work to get the room into shape. I have a list of honey-dos among them is to build bookcases for our library room. I will add to that list as I need some in my modelling room. These will serve their obvious purpose as well as a base for the switching layout that will be permanently setup in there. More on that in a couple of weeks when I find a tape measure to measure up the room and begin to design something that fits inside the house, and not in the soon to be very cold garage.
I managed to pick up a glass top work desk for $35 Aussie from a local thrift shop (similar to the image on the left). A couple of twists to tighten screws and the judicious use of my allen keys to tighten everything up and the thing is as good as new. The glass top will aid in making scratchbuilt items too.
It has been fun working with my Waldron punch sets and the Historex Hex punch sets and I have to restock all of my depleted punched out bolt heads, and circle plates (great for diesel detailing) from the different grades of styrene.
I’ll post some photos over the next week or two as I get things sorted out. All the best.
It’s been some time since my last post, due mainly to work and other real world commitments. Recently while enjoying a little downtime, I cam across a great set of posts and the layout blog. I wanted to share that with you.
Site 1: Burbank Branch Layout
A simple Inglenook track plan, this layout has some outstanding features that make it worth looking into. Not least is the modelling skill shown going into the layout by the builder – survivaljoe over on the MRH website..
As a renter he needed to build a layout that could move when he moved and not mount to or damage any of the walls in the dwelling. The control is DC for the moment while he waits for new technology in the market to mature. That does not appear to change the slow running qualities of locomotives.
Designed for operating sessions of roughly 30 minutes at a time (which I’ve talked about several times before as the perfect amount of time to operate on a small layout) this layout really shines up well, even without all the scenery in place.
The video above shows a basic operating session and the modelling quality involved.
While the video above shows images taken during the build process. I hope that you enjoy look at the layout as much as I have. Look into the resources below for the build and blog over the MRH site also.
Is there no end to designing a layout? I sincerely hope not, I’m having too much fun!
I’ve added a page to the 12 foot layout modelling project for the design process. It’s been really good to check the images from a distance (and not standing at the layout board) and seeing where things could be improved. I’m going to make changes and get to the Mk III design later this week.
It’s nice to know that I’m getting closer to an ideal layout design that will keep me happy switching and let me enjoy the layout for the next few years.
Keep an eye out for updates to the page later in the week.
This will provide a Work-in-Progress report of what’s happening in the layout build process. For now there’s a front page. It provides my overall thoughts and a photo showing the proposed design (already laid out in track).
As I stated on the page there’ll be more coming in the future including:
Operations design, and
A session report or two
Looking forward to getting this underway this month.
The end of the year is nigh, and it’s time for the jolly old Elf to ride around the place whipping down chimneys and all that stuff. As one train-lover to another I thought I’d share an image of the season with you.
Thanks for stopping by this year and being a part of the HVL and Andrew’s Trains. I hope that you’ll drop by again next year too.
I wish you all the best wishes of the season, no matter what your personal beliefs, hoping that you have a safe and Merry Christmas and a bright, interesting and enjoyable New Year.
While I chose not to (over) design my layout, there are some aspects that simply have to have a structured and logical approach to simplify troubleshooting for the longer term. These need to be in place to allow me to add to and grow the layout in the future. This post focuses on the wiring standard for all layouts that I build going forward.
After watching the current work being done over at Everard Junction with the wiring of the new section of his layout (+ Link) one of the things I noticed was the colour code in use. I feel that in the future he’ll find that there’ll be more stress and confusion in the future when tracing and troubleshooting.
As a former telephone technician colour codes are very important to me. As a result I’ve written a module / baseboard wiring standard. If you are not worried about troubleshooting your wiring in the future you can ignore this post now. Each module / baseboard will have a dual wiring BUS. One BUS will power the Locomotives and DCC accessories (the DCC BUS) while the other will power the DC accessories and other non-DCC devices (the DC BUS).
You might be wondering why I’d have non DCC accessories. Think for a moment of LED lighting. LED Lighting is 12V DC so lighting the module / baseboard is made easier using the 12 volt BUS. Additionally internal building lights, signalling and repeater panel lights that do not use DCC to operate can be powered off this BUS. Finally there is no extra effort required to wire these up later; its wired into the module / baseboard from the get-go. There’s no extra work to get DC powered items wired up beyond setting up dropper wires to the DC BUS.
The wiring standard for the boards and modules is a work in progress. You are welcome to download version 1. Please keep in mind it is not in the public domain. You may use it for personal use only. Any commercial applications of the document should be run by me first.
I don’t claim that this is the standard you should be using; it works for me. If it works for you too, then please download and use it.
Image 1: Ballarat station awash with a heaping helping of Vlocity sets (Wikipedia photo)
April and May have been a modelling wasteland. Easy to say, but hard to stomach. So in the mode of personal repair this week, I headed into Melbourne on the train to do a bit of business and add to my track hoard for the layout. I hope that you’ll remember that I was short some track and needed to get some before the dreaded ‘kidney stones from Hell’ incident.
Now I spent more than I probably should have, however, I now have two Peco curved code 83 switches, two left and one right #5 Peco code 83 switches. I was going to buy some more Peco code 83 flex, but while at the Hobby store I had a look in the bargain bin and lo and behold there was some Atlas code 83 on sale at $AU 5.85 per length (about $AU2.00 cheaper per piece than Peco). 10 pieces later on and some code 83 rail joiners and I was on my way out the door – my wallet significantly lighter.
Off to the Albury model train show this weekend (about 4.5 hours north of home). Looking forward to that. If you get the chance drop in. I hope to be there on Saturday morning. I’ll be the big boofheaded Ballarat bloke wearing a big green hoody. Say hello. More on the layout next week.