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 Construction of the new PRR Northern Division
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Author Previous Topic: HTRR - Chapter 2 Topic Next Topic: NMRA AP Civil Eng.Certificate  Support Thread
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Vagel Keller
Crew Chief

Posted - 08/31/2010 :  10:47:40 PM  Show Profile  Visit Vagel Keller's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by LVRALPH

But he runs diesels when he want's to represent real railroading!

Oooooo! Clarence Weaver's gonna come outta the grave and get you for that!

Country: USA | Posts: 864 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 10/07/2010 :  12:00:30 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

It’s been a while since an update! It’s not for lack of progress, but rather a lack of anything to really show. After the last planning session, I spent time finishing up the sub-roadbed on the lower level as I wanted to get some track down. This of course led to a lot of head scratching, or as some might put it, ‘refining of the master plan’! As I mentioned earlier, I am not one to draw a track plan. My doodling looks like chicken scratch! So while I have a pretty clear idea of what I want to do, as sub-roadbed and roadbed go down, there is a lot of pausing, checking, thinking and pondering going on! But the good news is I am past that point (I think) and things are falling into place better than I thought they would.

First things first. So as the sub-roadbed installation of the lower level is coming to a close, I figure the most logical place to start laying track is from the place where I started laying track back in March - the staging yard. Yup, it was time to go back and finally finish the staging yard. I figured it this way; once done, I could work out from both ends of the staging yard and onto the layout.

This view shows an overview of the staging yard from the bridge end, with the south ladder in the foreground and looking ‘north’.

This view shows the north ladder and where the main line enters the layout room on its way to Selinsgrove Junction and northward.

With the staging yard done, track work continued out onto the layout from both ends. This view is of the future area of ‘South Sunbury Industrial’ and is looking south. Selinsgrove Junction can be barely seen in the distance. From Selinsgrove Junction, the mainline curves to the right along the back wall and heads into staging.

Below, on the other end of the layout is Northumberland Yard. We are facing north and can see the mainline to the left. From here it continues north (around the corner to the left) and into staging.

As can be seen, I have laid out the trackage for Northumberland yard, but this area won’t be started until the mainline is completed.

I am now about 2/3 around the layout with the mainline on the lower level. I hope to have that completed within the next week or two.

In the meantime, work continues on the helix! Bruce was over last night and installed the third level. That means he’s at the halfway mark. You can also see roadbed for Sunbury in front of the helix. Eventually there will be a backdrop in front of the helix with building flats.

Also note that the benchwork for the second level is not installed in this area yet as we wanted to keep access to the helix open during construction of the helix.


Country: USA | Posts: 13705 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 10/07/2010 :  12:05:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So I find myself going crazy laying track and am enjoying every minute of it. But then I realize I can’t really test anything! I need to start wiring so I can run something. So this past week I finally got my wire cutters and soldering iron out and began that task.

Since there will be detection on the mainline and I will eventually install working signals on the layout, I decided that I would do things right. I made up boards that contain the DCC breakers and the DCCOD’s (DCC Optimized Detectors) for each area of the layout. There will be 5 of these boards around the layout.

This picture shows one of those boards, this one being for the staging yard. There are 16 blocks all together here; 12 staging tracks, 2 yard ladders and the approach tracks on either end of the staging yard. The DCC buss comes into the breaker on the left and from there to the DCCOD boards. The red and black wires are the block feeders.

So last night as I’m working on this board, I suddenly realize that with a little effort, I could power this thing up and actually run a train! Sure enough, before the night was over, we had power and the first wheels rolled on the new Northern Division! It’s alive!!! So here is GP-7 #5861 making its first run through the staging yard. (One of these days I'm going to learn how to take pictures! )

And this morning, after finishing up the rest of the blocks in the staging yard, I ran the first engine over the ‘Barrett Bridge’ that we installed back in July, 2009! This is the bridge that connects the staging yard, through the steps, to the Northumberland Yard end of the layout. Yes Bruce, it took a while but finally something has officially run across the bridge!

So while I didn’t hit my goal of having the lower main line finished and running by the end of September, I came darn close! It is really rewarding at this point to be able to power up the layout and play.

So now I will continue the track laying and wiring, and finish up the mainline on the lower level.


Edited by - MarkF on 10/07/2010 12:07:00 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 13705 Go to Top of Page

Crew Chief

Premium Member

Posted - 10/07/2010 :  12:53:07 AM  Show Profile  Visit dlwrailfan1's Homepage  Reply with Quote

Hip, hip hooray! We have trains on the main. Break open some bubbly and raise a glass. Do not spill any on the DCCOD.

All track finished by 12/31/2010?


Country: USA | Posts: 645 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 10/07/2010 :  06:03:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
About time you stopped screwing around and got this far! I was sitting on my porch reading and wondering what all the yelling and hootin and hollering was in that direction.

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Posted - 10/07/2010 :  07:25:11 AM  Show Profile  Send snarlman an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Great news Mark,
It must feel fantastic after all the hard work. Keep those wheels rolling!


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Premium Member

Posted - 10/07/2010 :  10:22:29 AM  Show Profile  Send akimmons an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Awesome, Mark. It's great to see a train running no matter how short the main (for now.)

Arnold Kimmons
General Manager
Royal and Edisto Railroad


Country: USA | Posts: 1425 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 10/07/2010 :  10:39:03 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Way to go Mark keep at it!!

Cheers!, Joe

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Premium Member

Posted - 10/07/2010 :  10:39:20 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Congratulations Mark!
So, when is the first ops session?

As you think, so will you be.

Country: USA | Posts: 21887 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 10/07/2010 :  10:51:11 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mark has confidently stated that his first ops session will be Thanksgiving, right Mark?

Sorry...couldn't resist (after all the previous chop-busting he joyfully administered to me). Personally, I think this layout is going to be an operational nirvana...lots of switching and long rambles through landscaped hills, PLUS the PPL Shamokin Dam Power Plant...<rubbing my hands vigorously>...can't wait. I think it's time we discussed interchange operations....the HTRR is just thirty miles south, you know....

Country: USA | Posts: 1320 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 10/07/2010 :  11:38:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Harsco

Mark has confidently stated that his first ops session will be Thanksgiving, right Mark?

Yes but did he say which year??

Mark, the pics are great. Love to see the layout coming right along!! Wish I lived closer to you guys!

Look out for #1, but don't step in #2!

Andy Keeney
Dewitt, MI

Country: USA | Posts: 6117 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 10/07/2010 :  11:55:20 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great news Mark! I am sure it made your toes tingle!

Joe <><

Country: USA | Posts: 2831 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 10/07/2010 :  7:29:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for all the atta-boys! Still a long way to go, but the fun part is finally here. I'm not far from completing the lower level main line, which including the staging yard, will be a complete loop, which means I can put something on the tracks, sit back and enjoy! Then I can start unpacking all the engines and rolling stock. That will be like Christmas morning!

Now, as for ops by Thanksgiving? Well, maybe next year! Maybe sooner. That's my ultimate goal.

And Andy, your invited anytime, you know that!


Country: USA | Posts: 13705 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/07/2010 :  7:56:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great update Mark. Looks like things are progressing nicely. You don't give yourself enough credit.


Country: USA | Posts: 217 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 10/08/2010 :  06:22:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bruce is only HALFWAY done the helix? What's he been doin over there...bullshooting? With Bruce, If you blink, it's usually done!

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