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T O P I C    R E V I E W
kumard Posted - 01/10/2016 : 2:19:51 PM
Today I'm starting my new model railway called 'the Town'. It will be another location on the same branch line that my other model 'The Depot' (at Carendt) is situated along.

I'll spend some time in the next couple of months fleshing out the universe that this branch line lives within - namely history, geographical, location, time period, other stations/depots/stops etc. For the moment this is what I have:

  • Somewhere in the upper Midwest.

  • The time period is a mixture of the late 50s, early 60s.

  • The branch is over 100 miles long. It's connected to a mainline in the south-east.

  • It's crossed in several places by other railroads.

  • It ends in a small terminus in a small town in the north-west.

  • The branch is a Soo Line branch that was taken over in some kind of merger or purchase and has never been a favorite of the administration. Its financial returns, marginal at best, are now no longer able to sustain it and it has been marked for closure within two years.

  • Passenger travel ended in the early 50s but the occasional fan trip from the Soo Line Historical Society sends a steam engine up the line with eager rail fans every few years.

Here's the photo that will provide the aesthetic foundation for the model. It has been a favorite of mine for some time now. Although the picture is set in winter or early spring I'll keep the model within summertime but with the usual muted colors.
1/12/15 - With the assistance of another forum member I was able to trace the source of the image (thank you Robert Chant). As I suspected it is copyrighted. I've written to the owner to allow me to post it here but in the meantime I've removed it and have replaced it with a link to the official source.

Here's a sketch of the layout. It's of a simple loop but crossed by another line. The other line is the remains of a local traction company that also serviced several industries. The traction company has long gone along with its electric power and a few remaining industrial tracks are now serviced by the Soo.

I'll post more this week. I'm trying to learn a rail design program to produce a proper working diagram. I intend to start construction in March beginning with the benchwork. The size will be 72 inches with 18 inches.
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
kumard Posted - 02/20/2018 : 12:13:18 PM
Thanks all.

James >> I was able to use the DPDT slide switch controlling the polarity of a turnout's frog to control the two changeable corners of the diamond >> That's a great idea James. I had not thought of that. I'll give it some thought as to whether I want to rewire along similar lines.

This wiring project has awoken an interest in electronics. I'm particularly curious to find out if there is a way that more than one action (1. turn off sections, 2. switch polarities, 3. do other things etc) can be controlled from a single switch. I suspect a circuit board and electronic 'thingys' that I have absolutely no knowledge of might do this sort of thing. As such I ordered a book on basic electronic projects (Ebay, used, $7.50 including shipping). I shall see what magic tricks might be found and applied from within its pages.

I'll have more on wiring a couple of weeks. I'm doing a small track project using rivets this week. I'll post something on that next weekend.

Thanks for the comments.
Frank Palmer Posted - 02/20/2018 : 10:23:46 AM
Kumar, it's obvious you have a PHd in Bus Wiring.


Your action photos are pretty neat too.
Michael Hohn Posted - 02/20/2018 : 09:25:37 AM

Your track and electrics are both well engineered. Impressive.

George D Posted - 02/20/2018 : 08:11:58 AM
Nice smooth trackwork.

jbvb Posted - 02/19/2018 : 11:05:40 PM
Glad to see it works for you, Kumar. I recently finished a hand-laid diamond on my layout, also using a DPDT
switch to control the diamond's polarity. But in part because my crossing tracks were both spurs, I was able
to use the DPDT slide switch controlling the polarity of a turnout's frog to control the two changeable corners
of the diamond. So when that turnout is reversed, the diamond is powered for that spur, when it's normal the
diamond is powered for the other spur. This is possible because all my track in that area is a single block,
so I didn't need to switch feeds.
quartergauger48 Posted - 02/19/2018 : 11:04:35 PM
Beautiful wiring work'..
kumard Posted - 02/19/2018 : 10:53:37 PM
Well I finally finished the wiring to power all the track. The two separate sections (the branch line and the traction freight line) are controlled from their own SPST switches. The crossovers required a little thought and in the end I came up with a couple of schemes to wire them up. I created a third bus not connected to either of the other two sections. The crossovers will always be on and are directly connected to the throttle. In order to control the frog poles I connected them to a DPDT switch and simply flip the switch to power the correct frogs for either direction.

This diagram demonstrates the general idea of how the crossovers are powered. I used just one DPDT switch to power all three crossovers.

This is the wiring to power the track. Because I decided to use buses to send power to the track each track has to have wires dropped down from the rails. It gets messy very quickly but works like a dream. Each wire can be disconnected from the bus in order to isolate problems. I was able to find problems very quickly just by isolating the power in sections.

I still have to add the wiring for the turnout motors so I may have to reorganize the layout on the staging platform.

The locomotive runs perfectly through the crossover.

Next on my list: turnout motors. I'm going to take a week off and start on that little project next weekend.

Thanks all.
kumard Posted - 02/05/2018 : 8:02:11 PM
Thanks Rob and Frank.

Frank - any tracks that need further cuts will be done as I power up each section.

More next week.
Frank Palmer Posted - 02/05/2018 : 08:35:25 AM
That's what I like to see, progress.

Kumar, if these are PCB ties wouldn't these have to be cut also?

robchant Posted - 02/05/2018 : 12:51:31 AM
Hi Kumar,

Everything looks to be taking shape very well ... and the wiring looks great so far. I'm sure it will be very nice to see some trains running soon.

Take care,
kumard Posted - 02/04/2018 : 11:28:21 PM
Hi all.

Quick intermediary post. Trains not quite running yet but very close. Here's an update:

It took a couple of weeks for my bus clamps to arrive so I just carried on dropping wires through the board to eventually connect to the bus. The black is positive, the is red negative and the green (that power the two-pole frogs of the crossovers) will switch between the two poles via a DPDT switch.

The clamps arrived from Shapeways last week. I had six made for each bus. I just ordered six to begin with to make sure they would do the job properly. They do. They are incredibly strong and hold the bus securly away from the underside of the board. Keeping them away from the surface makes cutting into the bus so much easier when connecting to the track wires.

First I drew a quick sketch of the clamp. Then made a quick demo from foam board. When I was satisfied with the dimensions I created a sketch in SketchUp and then sent this to Shapeways.

The clamps arrived a week later. The bus easily fitted in the hole without being too loose. The clamps are very light but still very strong.

The bus runs the length of the board and I tried to keep it close to the section wires that it will connect to.

I decided to build a staging platform for the DC wiring. The platform serves several purposes:

  • It clears a space for the DC wires and terminal blocks.

  • It sends wires to the control panel.

  • It routes the wires the different sections.

  • It hides the AC system wires beneath it.

  • It allows me to drill holes to secure the terminal blocks without worrying about drilling through the surface of the board.

  • It will hold the turnout motor switch wires.

I try to not ever throw things away. These plastic cylinders came from some self-assemble furniture kit (Ikea?). I didnít know what I was ever going to use them for. Came in handy here though.

The AC wiring is below the platform so that the DC wiring can be designed unencumbered. The goal is to connect the throttle, add the first section on off switch and power the first section of track. I also need to swap out the diagram for the updated version. I should be able to see the first locomotive moving on the track in the next few days.

Anyhow that's it for now. First train should be moving this week.

Thanks all.
kumard Posted - 01/24/2018 : 11:45:48 AM
Denny >> I wonder how this would react to rail expansion and contraction. >> Well I read some notes on the UK Scalefour forum (who supply the rivets) and they mentioned the familiar 'ping' of a rail breaking due to expansion. I will use plastic decorative joiners so I won't be dealing with long continuous sections of rail - that might help.

As there has been some interest in this track laying system I've decided to devote an hour each evening to building a test turnout. I'll post on that as I progress. I'll use a FastTracks template and will do one turnout and one straight secton with tie plates.

Iain Rice wrote a book twenty five years ago on building UK 4mm finescale track with the Brook Smith rivets. I'm going to try to adapt some of his methods to HO USA track.

Keep you posted.
CWRailman Posted - 01/24/2018 : 01:47:44 AM

I wonder how this would react to rail expansion and contraction. We use a similar process at every other joint between two rails. The two rails get soldered to the rail joiner which gets soldered to the top of a flat brass screw embedded into the roadbed. That becomes the anchor/control point. From that point the rail is allowed to grow in either direction but when it shrinks up it comes back to itís normal position. Here in the US where model railroads get exposed to variances of temperatures expansion/contraction is an issue and it does not take much change in temperature for this to happen.
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Pennman Posted - 01/24/2018 : 12:04:04 AM
This is very interesting to me as well. Thanks for sharing your work with us.

jbvb Posted - 01/23/2018 : 11:05:41 PM
If you haven't handled one, US (and UK in places where flat-bottom rail has replaced bullhead) tieplates hold the rail about 3/4" above the top of the tie, unless a flat place has been adzed into an uneven tie.

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