Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Willamette River Railway - Meeting of the Minds

I finally got time to go visit my buddy Thayne and see the work he's done on the layout.  Naturally I forgot my !@#$!#$ camera again.  Next time I'll run home and get it.  We had a great time.

We went over the main line and traced it around the room.  He likes it and doesn't want to make any changes.  That is odd in that I've NEVER designed a perfect layout.  Even after doing tons of them, there are always changes.  No matter, we are good to go on the mainline.

We started talking construction and agreed that track laying needs to start with the hidden trackage along the back wall.  While there we checked the measurement for the lower level fouling point.  It was 4", which is what I had put into the drawing so we were lucky.

I drew in the dimensions on the ROOM MEASUREMENTS layer and the back track falls right into place.  I told Thayne that I would start with laying the two rows of hidden track first.  He's got some reasonably new track that he took from his old layout that is in gauge and looks brand new.  I recommended that he work with his track weathering and ballasting techniques on this section since it will be hidden and he can work the bugs out.

This graphic is large, but is needed.  This drawing has 1" squares for the graph so that you can locate turnouts and trackage.  Remember when we used to get radius centers on our track plans?  I think those days are gone.  The big magazines want pretty layouts, not ones you can actually build.  I'll do the radius prints later.

3rd Plan It (from now on 3PI) has a handy tool that allows you to calculate the length of the mainline.  What I did was turn off all of the layers except the mainline and the hidden siding.  We have 1,337 inches of track, or 112 feet of track.  Thayne needed this information so that he could go purchase the track for the mainline.  This includes the lengths of the turnouts, but that won't matter since he'll need almost this much again just for the Brooklyn yard.  Actually, I think I just found out that it is NOT the Brooklyn yard.  More later.

Thayne will also need to buy the turnouts, so let's help him out here...

I turned on the TURNOUTS layer and turned off all the track but the main and hidden staging.  I get a nice print out and location of all the turnouts.  I increased the font size of the description so that Thayne can read it easier.  Here's what he'll need for the main...

Walther's Code 83, DCC Friendly - all of them

  • #8 Curved Turnout LH - 2 each
  • #8 Curved Turnout RH - 1 each
  • #7 1/2 Curved Turnout RH - 1 each
  • #7 Curved Turnout LH - 1 each
  • #8 Straight Turnout LH - 2 each
  • #8 Straight Turnout RH - 3 each

These little buggers aren't cheap, so THAYNE -please use the drawing to double check the list before you send it to Randy at The Train Shoppe here in Salt Lake City.

Randy and I talked about using Peco turnouts, but I have used both and dollar for dollar, I'd recommend the Walther's turnouts.  Especially when using curved turnouts.  Big trip to the bank for this, but the rest of the track is easy.

Thayne has already put down a layer of 1/2 inch plywood and a layer of Homasote over the entire layout.  I probably wouldn't recommend doing that as it will create the need to saw some of it out for risers for the road bed.  But the yard area is fine for sheet Homasote.  He'll start laying track on Homabed roadbed product.

With the mainline agreed upon, he can also start running the bus lines for the DCC system.  A quick check of my notes says that my last layout I used 12 or 14 AWG gauge single strand copper wire in both red and black colors for the bus lines.  Feeder wires (or drops) are 18 to 22 AWG gauge single strand copper wire in both red and black colors.  These are the wires that go from the bus to the track, and EVERY segment of track needs a drop.  My rule.  Got a question about DCC?  Go here!!!  DCC Wiki.

Thayne told me what DCC system he purchased, but I forgot.  Maybe I can get him to email me the name so that those of you that are following along will know.  There are a lot of you!  I appreciate all your comments...keep them coming!  Let me know if we leave something out or you need a copy of a drawing in 3PI format.

Thayne's electrician was over and discussed the lighting.  Hopefully we'll have it in before too long as laying track in the dark is tough.

I'm glad he like it and is so excited about the layout!  I'm going over to his house again Friday to help lay track and have a cold beverage.  My bet is that all the track is laid and trains are running before I get there!

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