Thursday, 15 December 2016

Layout Update - 2016 summary

2016 end of year Update

A lot of detail and tuning has occurred over the last few months. I built car card boxes and developed operating runs and train orders. This resulted in another operating session with 6 colleagues and a number of lessons for improvement. We also now have some signals installed especially around Beauville. More mini LEDs were installed.
Mike Bartlett, the NMRA AP Director came in and on one occasion we built a “fifty cent industrial light”. With no preparation we completed it in about 20 minutes – and it worked!


I converted all my 86 foot auto parts cars to body mounted couplers and added them to the layout. I purchased these from TrainWorks at the last N Scale convention for about $3.50 each – a bargain. The paint scheme was off so they were rejects!!
AT&SF 86 foot auto parts cars
Staging tracks torn up to relay
Originally they had bogie mounted couplers. They looked great and they ran pretty well but in future I may also upgrade the wheels to metal wheels. However I discovered that a curved section of my staging yard had the tracks a little too close when these long cars and passenger cars were next to each other.  So the only solution was to tear up the tracks and widen the spacing.. Well the most time consuming part of doing this was moving all the cars and locos in staging and planning how to do it. Once the track was up, new cork was laid, and the new track wired and laid.


At Beauville most of the switches are controlled by DPDT sliding switches. Hence the extra contacts on the DPDT switches are available to power the signals to indicate whether the switch is open or closed for the facing route.
Beauville Signals
At the eastern end of Beauville I canablised a Bachman overhead signal system and installed a green / red LED. The signal bridge now cantilevers out over two tracks.
East Beauville Cantenary signal
Beauville Yard

Mini LEDs

The caretaker’s cottage at the wind farm was an interesting project to use LEDs. There is one installed under the balcony roof, and I added an interior floor so I could light the second floor only.
Caretakers Cottage

The effect of the warm white lights is very good.

City Upgade:

Work is progressing slowly in the city area. Some lights and signs have been added to the buildings.  I still have the “Sexy scene” to install in JD’s Bar. That will take a keen eye to see.
JDs Bar
There are now lights in Leeville Central Station, and external lamps (mini LEDs) on three sides of the building
Leeville Central Station

The city park has been completed. It has a children’s play area with slippery dip, swings and balance bar. There is a tennis court with players and a photographer.
City Park

Kaye’s Flour.

Kayes Flour is a combination of a kit bashed Cornerstone model plus 25mm pipe and overhead buildings made from scraps. The siding was extended so it now is a line to pick up from “Mine Craft” storage.

Kaye's Flour

Harley Freight Forwarding:

This diorama now has lights for the yard.
HJ Freight Forwarding

Gleeville Church:

Although not complete the church now has a series of grave stones and the fence is almost complete. I plan to add flowers to some of the graves and more detail in the yard.
Gleeville Church

Summit Gravel:

The Summit Gravel office has interior light and a new “office” sign. The store room has an exterior light (mini LED)
Summit Gravel Office and store

Feather River:

The single track through Feather River now has additional trees and shrubs. Boy it is amazing how many trees a layout can ‘swallow”. I must have close to 1,000 trees on the layout and could use many more.
Feather River tracks


I have slowly developed the operations run sheets and rules so that multiple operators can participate and run several trains, and assemble others. Initially I had run sheets but have developed car cards for almost all the cars on the layout. I also built card boxes for each key location with a simple: East, West, or Spot holder for the cards.
Card Boxes at Summit
The run sheets for each train and / or operation are held in A5 plastic holders together with the car cards for that train. The local stationery chain sells A5 holders which hang neatly on the fascia.
Run Sheets in A5 holder
Our last operating session with 6 colleagues used this method. The general feeling was it could be simplified as car numbers are hard to read in N Scale. So instead of dropping off  ADM Hopper number 123456 and picking up Box Car BNSF  654321 the operation could be drop one ADM Hopper and pick up Box car.
Our next operating session will potentially move to this format.
Also with a collector like me the staging tracks and yards are reasonably full of cars and trains. It is the old adage that you never have enough storage tracks on your layout. One colleague suggested a rule of thumb should be about 50% utilization of storage track to enable more movement of trains and I will try that as well next time we run a full operating session. Gee which trains will I have to remove?
OK there is a lot more I could have updated but this is the last update for 2016.
Next year I hope to have a full web page and an easier to navigate design. All the best.


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