Saturday, February 23, 2013

045 The Augusta Railway - Drawing Out the Track Plan

I got some time today to finally work on the layout.  My children joined me as it has snowed all day and is cold.  We turned on the fireplace and they think it is great fun to plan underneath the blob on the layout.  It has become the clubhouse.

We start off with a pre-cut sheet of plywood, A side up.  This board has been cut to a width of 32", slightly wider than I need.  I'm going to use a variety of measuring instruments including: dry wall square, 32" ruler, 48" ruler, carpenter's square, tape measure and a 12" ruler.  I'm also going to use a set of colored Sharpee markers to indicate which line is which.  Only two colors are cut lines: green and red.  Red is a critical cut dimension, and green is a non-critical cut.

I start off by trimming some of the board off the front and cutting out the shape of the layout for this section.  I'll mark it in green since the cut isn't that critical to be precise.

My oldest helper is constantly at my side.  She goes and gets supplies, hands me markers, and cuts out turnout templates.  She is quite helpful, actually!

I'll use a blue marker and draw in the 2" deep canal.  I will actually cut this piece of, so I lied.  Blue can be a cut line, too!  This will be mounted at ground zero and serve as the water base.

Since I'll need to continue this board along the length of the layout for probably another foot, I'll square off the end so another piece will fit snug.

Using my drawing with a graph of 2" per square, I carefully measure each line and make sure it is placed corrected.  If I'm not quite sure, I draw it in pencil and then ink it later.  I draw all track work in pencil and then ink over it.

Supervisor #2 has brought her step ladder over to see what is going on.  Guess I should have made the layout a bit higher!

This board is basically and upper and lower lever.  There is now a red cut line to split the boards in half.  I've drawn the dock rail center line in black.

Net we need to put in the mainline and several turnouts.  For easy placement and comparison to my drawings I drew in (in pencil) one foot graph lines on the board.  This makes it easy to know where to put things.  Dry wall squares are MANDATORY for this kind of work as they are cheap and very useful.

I made copies of a right and left hand #5 turnout from Walthers.  These will be marked with a center line on each track and positioned where they go on the layout.  This is quick, cheap, easy and very accurate!

The main line is six inches from the front of the board, so I draw it in with a pencil.  The turnout at the left end is then placed and taped down with tape.

One by one I draw the track center lines and que them up to the corresponding turnouts.  This went really fast!  Either that or I've just done it a lot of times and it goes quickly.  Good, accurate track plans make for easy cookie cutter work.

There!  We have drawn in all the trackwork and cut lines.  We are ready to move it to the saws in the garage...depending on the weather outside.  Its very cold.

This whole step only took about an hour or so while also playing with the children.  Tomorrow we'll either cut this board or draw the other sheet.

044 The Augusta Railway - Cookie Cutter Templates

Here are the cookie cutter templates.  I usually don't do them in CAD, I just freehand them.  The drawing on the plywood will be precise though.

The first sheet is pretty tricky.  We'll do it first.

Here is the second sheet which is very simple.  I'll cut out the small bridge after I mount the subroadbed.

043 The Augusta Railway - On30 More Mods

Oops for something!

I forgot about the hidden siding.  Mainly, because it is hidden!  I widened the track centers to 3" which still let's me use the 5" board I had cut.  I also added the rerailer at the end and moved the turnout closer to the edge where I can get to it for maintenance.

I also added a clearance note of 4.5" and a few other touches.  Its ready for On30 if I ever want it.

The three way turnout yard won't work in On30, but I don't plan to keep it.  I'll turn it into a two track yard instead to save scenery space.

042 The Augusta Railway - On30 Mods

All I'm going to do is to make some modifications to the track work so that I can convert the layout to On30 later after I get my AP Certificates.

Mostly we just need to widen the track.  On30 requires 3" centers in order to pass safely.  First thing we'll do is work on the curves.

 Here you can see that the curves are nested at 2" from center to center.  We'll decrease the inner curve from 20" radius to 19" radius to give us the extra inch.  We'll also need to make sure we clear the overpass, so we'll put the inner curve on a grade going from 1" high to 0" high.  This will give us a 4.5" clearance.  It will look better in HO as well.

The lower August siding needs to be spaced apart as well.  We'll move it to three inches.

Here you can see the 3" measuring sticks that I added to gauge the separation.

Now that it is widened, we can move to the upper Augusta passing siding, which is not as easy to widen.

I had to flip the switch on the left in order to make the siding still reach the building.  This is ok though.

Here is the layout now.  Ready for cookie cutter.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

041 The Augusta Railway - HO to On30?



I am not changing scale/gauge again.  The Augusta Railway will be built in HO as planned.  But...big but...what if later I'm tired of it or continue to have eye problems and want to change to On30?  Well, there is no harm in maybe planning that out a little...just in case.  Especially before I cut the roadbed this weekend.

There are a few things you need to consider when rescaling a layout from HO to On30:

1.  Track separations - now need to be 3" from centerline to centerline on On30.  For this layout we have three problem areas:  the lower Augusta passing siding, the upper Augusta passing siding, and the two loops.  All of these are fairly easy fixes, and the South end of lower Augusta can use a good curved turnout that I found.  Oh, the hidden trackage will need to be widened.

2.  Grades - the grades remain at 3% maximum, so there is no problem there.

3.  Overpass clearance - the overpass needs to be 4.5" for On30 clearance, so we may lower the inner loop to keep from increasing the grade on the outer loop.

Actually, it won't be much of a problem.  I'll draw it out one night this week.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Old Layout Resurfaces

I've built tons of small layouts...almost 30 of them.  Often I wonder what happened to them.  Fortunately, one resurfaced just recently!

The Louisville & Nashville Taylorsville Subdivision in N scale

As you can see, the layout has had some neglect.  It is about 10 years old and has been stored under a dusty bed.  It was built for my father-in-law who, at the time, was showing some interest in model trains and had been to a Region Convention with me.  He's a great guy, but sadly, is suffering from dementia and is in a care center now.

The layout was a simple, light weight layout with two industries and a passing siding.  Funny, but this very simple layout was a lot of fun to operate.  Its only 2 feet x 4 feet.

My brother-in-law is resurrecting is, so we'll see if it comes back to life.

If you happen to have a layout that I built...please send me a photo!

040 The Augusta Railway - Roadbed Crew

Finally!  I got a free minute to work on my layout.  Its been very busy, and I lost a week to the nasty flu that is going around.

I went to Lowe's and bought two sheets of 15/32nds plywood with a sanded side.  The cut the 32 inch board shown above, a 5" board for the hidden staging, and cut the other board short one foot.

This sheet has been through the wringer, but can give you an idea of the cookie cutter job we need to do.

Here are two of the strip boards for the hidden staging.  I'll start drawing the cookie cutter and track center lines this week.  Hopefully we can begin cutting next weekend.  I need to run some trains!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

020 - Richlawn RR v2 - Back to Pizza and Beer

Rick has decided to continue his old and unhealthy ways and to not put the layout on a diet.  Fair enough.  So we'll flip back to drawing v.1041 and proceed with the necessary modifications.  To me, this is the fun part.  Anyone can draw a mainline.  That's easy.  The tweeking to make it look like a railroad is where the art is.

First off, let's go back to the end of December and put the closet in the drawing.  Somehow I missed this email, so we'll work on it now.

Here is the plan as it stands now.  Tweaking time!

 Dimensions for the Guestroom Closet - 7' 7" width inside by 23 1/2" depth inside.

 Hey!  What a nice surprise!  The closet is longer than estimated, so we get some extra track.  While the temptation is to shove more track into the closet, I figure Rick's wife might actually need to use it some.  Most likely Rick will operate his layout on his own, so four staged trains is a lot.  He can add more later if he likes.

 Let's finish the staging area properly.  First, you ALWAYS have rerailer tracks at the mouth of the yard at minimum.  Rick may be backing trains into this yard blindly or with a remote camera, so you want them to stay on the track.  We also want to put bumpers on the end to help protect the cars.  These additions are cheap insurance using Atlas code 83 track components.  

 I put it all on an unfinished shelf, though I'm sure Rick will put scenery on it anyway.  My thought is that one day, on a busy ops session, he might....just might...take a lesson from the Amazing Lee Nicholas and turn this into a live "mole" staging area.  Wow!  A lot more trains.

Palmer Industries is a focal point on the layout.  Rick is going to kitbash the front building of Palmer along with the chimney to give it the flavor of the entire factory.

To do this he is going to use two of the Walther's Cornerston Series Empire Gas Works plants.  The footprint for one building is 16 1/2" long by 7 7/8" wide.  When you put the two side by side it will be 33" long!  That is a big building for this layout.

We'll start by switching to the Structures layer, and making a rectangle the size of one of the structures.

Then we'll click and double it, butting them up to each other.

 Here you can see how bit the building, and the newly added chimney look, just sitting in the aisle.  Oh boy.

Even after removing some sidings, this is a big structure.  We'll need to move the siding a bit and squeeze it in.

After moving the siding by using an 18" inch radius curve, and also extending the right side of the blob just a bit, we squeezed it in.  I added the road that runs in front and the chimney.  Prototypically the chimney should be closer to the aisle, but an elbow would take it out the first operating session, so I moved it the magic 6" in to protect it.  Still, Rick may want to turn this whole structure around so that you can see the front, but when people walk in their eye will follow the road.  Rick's choice.

Both Rick and I had noticed that the swing gate could line up with the East Louisville main, and we thought "what if?"   Neither Rick or I like to leave things alone, so we're wondering if a Gate Switch or Gate Extension might be plausible, and fun.  By locking the gate open, you could extend the lead on the industrial section.  I went ahead and drew it in, and we'll let Rick figure out how to make it work.  Stay tuned, Model Railroad Hobbyist fans!

We need to service the diesel fleet, and I'm running out of space.  Our thought was to use the area inside the wye, which is actually common.  But later I thought it was too confining, and I'd like to see some scenery there to hide the opening into the closet.  So let's squeeze two tracks along the back wall, and at a slight angle.  Never put a track parallele to the back wall if you can help it.

Ok, I forgot about a caboose track.  Rick and I decided since the railroad was running out of real estate  the cassette draw track would be the caboose track.

 Buck and Loretta have decided to move their trailer to West Louisville, so I will draw that in.  Above is the scenery section we need to drop in.

And magically it appears!  Glad I did that because I had the curve at the wrong radius.  The dirt road to their house continues on over the tracks.

 There!  I sent the plan over to Rick to run and play with it.  We'll meet again and fine tune the rest of the industries.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Thank You, Rick Luther!

My friend Rick Luther, or "Little Joe" as we like to call him because of his Milwaukee Road affliction, is one of the most talented Marketing guys I've seen.  I'm in the consumer products business, so I've met hundreds of them and I know what I'm talking about.  Other than being a gifted model railroader, he has this amazing way of making beautiful graphic artwork and designs that actually get people to do something!  In our club, the Utah Society of Railroad Modelers he is constantly designing logos, banners, flyers and graphics that help us sell our club.  Because of Rick, we are growing.

I asked him if he would help spruce up my blog with a new header!  Wow...did he ever!  And you are only seeing one of the several I picked out.

Thanks, Rick!   You are awesome!!!

Scott Perry (left) realizing that his battery in the camera is not charged.  Rick Luther (right) trying not to laugh too hard.   Jim Wanlass photo.

Go visit Rick at his blog: