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Gary Rowan

Life: 1 - Model Railroading: 0

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Not much progress has been made on the Pinnacle & Western since my last post. It seems like life has demanded more than it's fair share of time in the last few months. Even though there's been no construction progress, a lot of thinking has gone into the PWRR.

I've decided to redesign the layout structure. In the first design, the only access to the interior was by crawling under the layout. Like everyone else, I'm getting older and stiffer, and the more I think about it, the more I want easier access. With the redesign, I'll gain a little more benchwork, at the expense of some track length. The loss in track length is due primarily to reducing the size of the helix.

I've also started setting some of the standards I'm going to follow.

The inside curve of the helix will have a radius of 18 inches, the outer curve 20 inches. The spacing between each helix level (deck to deck) will be three inches. If my calculations are correct, this gives a 2.4% grade on the uphill (outer) spiral and 2.6% grade on the downhill (inner) spiral. Steep? Yes. But since the theme is patterned after a couple of shortlines, the typical train length will be relatively short (20-25 cars on average).

On the main lines, the curves will have a minimum radius of 18 inches. In the industrial areas, I'm considering reducing the minimum radius to 12 inches. I still need to do some more research, but I think most of the power found in the mid 60's to early 80's time frame will run on the smaller curves.

I've almost decided on #5 turnouts across the board. I think #4 is to small and #6 is almost to big. Whichever one I decide on, the turnouts will be built using one of the FastTrack jigs.

All trackwork will be code 55 rail.

More to come...

As always, comments are welcome.
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  1. GULL's Avatar
    Hi Gary,

    It sounds like you are taking the added time to better focus on your long term enjoyment of the layout. I have always found that a re-think, or two, of my plans often helps to focus in on the most important aspects and criteria that we need/want. I've learned to joy the planning and management parts of the hobby, and added delays, sometimes can help.

    I have always heard throughout the years to put the largest turnout size that you can fit on mainlines, especially if you plan to do any photography, however that is each modelers decision based on the layout's factors and perimeters.

    Looks like you have some Good specs!.

    Have Fun, Steven