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Thread: The Soo's P-Line

  1. #21
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    Back to the drawing board.

    I started re-arranging the room that I have available for a layout, and decided that there was far more advantage in having a permanent 4 x 6.5 foot layout than a flip down 3.5 x 8. In convenience, the ability to build higher features, and even possibly having a helix and a staging yard below some time in the future.

    So it's back to the drawing board...which in my case is SCARM.

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    Here's the first stab at the newly dimensioned layout. I kind of like having more back to front real estate, but I'm not entirely happy with things yet. I won't have the luxury of having as much of a seperation between town and country, and I'll have to scale the town down a bit. I'd also like to see if I could figure it so that two independent loops could be set up to have two trains running without having to babysit the controls, so that will mean a little more work.

    As always, I welcome your critiques and suggestions!

    snapshot.jpg

  3. #23
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    Ok, I've added another loop, so that I can run two trains at the same time without worrying about a collision. Now I'll have to figure out the block wiring. This is the first real layout I've ever built myself...snapshot.jpg

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  5. #24
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    The curves that lead to the river line concern me. They look a bit tight.

    Be wary of using flex track for your first versions of your layout. While it can easily fix many track work dilemmas, it can quickly induce more. With little effort flex can form radii as small as 3-1/2 inches. Smaller than what streetcars can handle.

    Using sectional track with fixed radii on the design will save you future problems. Once the design is completed, flex can replace the sectional on the plan or layout.



    The idea behind block wiring is rather easy.


    • The layout is broken into sections, with each section electrically isolated by insulating joiners on both rails.
    • Two power leads go to each section.
    • The leads go to a selector switch that picks which power source to energize that section.
      • Use a on/off/on DPDT toggle for two sources
      • Use a two pole rotary switch for more. Pick one with one more selection than you have power sources, so you can totally shut the section down.


    Simple concept at the rails. All the bother comes at the control panel. It's just a lot of wires to be soldered.
    image.jpeg
    Taking your time and color coding the wiring makes it less complex. If you look at the diagram the wiring keeps repeating the same pattern for every section of track. Need more blocks, just repeat the pattern.

    With this his wiring plan it is easy to convert from DC to DCC, just replace the power pack.
    Use what you know about the world to model…
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    Actually, same radii as in the last version. There's a section of tight curve at each turnout on the 'lake' route (45 degree), other than that, min 30 degree curves. I'll probably rework it to eliminate those. My passenger cars did just fine on the last revision, the one time I had opportunity to lay it out on our kitchen island. Of course, Honey wasn't going to put up with that for very long.

    Conceptually, apart from the tight curves, what does everyone think? Suggestions? Ideas?

    - - - Updated - - -

    And thanks for the wiring primer. Very helpful! I just ordered A. Sperandeo's first edition wiring book on Half.com.

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    I've learned something about designing layouts on your computer. When converting a track plan to benchwork that's had both dimensions changed, it's easier to just start from scratch than to try to convert it. I think making it wider OR making it longer would work just fine, but doing both seems to complicate things to the point where you're better off starting fresh. And so I have.

    I've also learned to lay out all your 'loops' and trackage in really boring, straight shots initially. Once it's all worked out, then go back and make it interesting by swapping straight stuff out with curves and such. In other words, keep it simple initially, get everything to meet up properly, then go back and add your curves and subtleties for added interest.

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    Latest plan. This time there's not a speck of flex track in the plan. Zilch. Zero.

    layout5.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by P-LineSoo View Post
    Latest plan. This time there's not a speck of flex track in the plan. Zilch. Zero.
    You might want some flexibility to get your tracks to line up

    The little S on the top left of the mountain might give you some trouble.

    I still really like your plan!

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    That big S by the river and lake is a reversing loop. Plus you lost the ability to run two trains on separate routes.

    I do like how the S track could be used for a whistle stop for another tiny town and Camp Wobegon.
    Use what you know about the world to model…
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoNW View Post
    That big S by the river and lake is a reversing loop. Plus you lost the ability to run two trains on separate routes.

    I do like how the S track could be used for a whistle stop for another tiny town and Camp Wobegon.
    LOL, Camp Wobegon! That would be fun, as long as I'm freelancing, to do Lake Wobegon. Sidetrack Tap, Ralph's Pretty Good Grocery, Bunsen Motors, the whole works. We could say that the Soo went through Lake Wobegon...

    Of course, there is a story in one of the books on how the line to Lake Wobegon was a spur and they had to back the train in 28 miles or something ridiculous like that.

    C&NW, you keep me focused on continuous improvement. More revisions to the version prior to the last to try to keep the second loop. I do like having a reverse loop, though it will provide me with some wiring challenges.

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    Here it is, the FINAL revision... Drum roll, please!........


    plinefinal.jpg

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    This version takes into account Mike Fifer's tutorial on cutting Kato track to a specific length. It will require very careful measuring and a bit of trial and error, but the end result will be well worth it. There also is zero flex track in this version.

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    Progress! There is a 6' 8" x 4' board on a 1x4 frame, and the track plan has been applied. Need a couple of #6 lefties (as I miscalculated on the number I'd need by one and found one defective beyond repair -- the manual slider is broke and when I took the back off to see if it could be fixed everything just sort of fell out -- and the points are bent upward and I'm not sure how to flatten them and they catch everything that goes across them, so...) And I need to wire my feeders up, allowing for the 1.5 inch of foam that needs to go on yet (after I'm happy that the track runs smooth and the track plan is final) so that there's power to everything. Will post some pics later today.

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  18. #34
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    It's been a bit since my last update. I'll try to post some pics tonight (I'm always saying that yet I never seem to get to it...probably because it's such a PITA to get pics posted due to technical limitations of living in the boonies). Here's where things are at:

    - 2 inch high density foam has been installed over the plywood
    - A slightly modified version of the original 'final' track plan is in place, it features everything the original did, just arranged a bit different to fit the layout better. There are two independent loops with crossovers to each, though I'm still going to put a double crossover in at some point soon. There's a reverse loop. There's a yard and I may add a siding or two after I cut the lake and river into the foam and decide where the final locations for certain industries are.
    - 10 DPDT momentary switches have arrived, waiting for 10 DPDT non-momentaries, which will be used for block wiring. The momentaries will be configured for the 10 Kato turnouts, and a control panel will be built.
    - A second MRC Tech 4 power pack is on it's way for dual cab control
    - Industries so far are an ice works, a factory which will be kitbashed into a brewery, feed/grain mill, christmas tree loading dock. Planned industries include a pickle station (there used to be a lot of those around here) which will be kitbashed from another generic factory model.
    - Several period-correct houses, the Walthers vintage water tower (expensive but really nice), several businesses and a passenger and freight depot.

    Nothing is glued down yet. I'm still playing with the track and making minor tweaks. Once everything is wired and tested for smooth operation, the track will get glued to the foam.

    To summarize, it looks like some weird alien landscape right now, with grey roadbed on pink land that's as flat as a pancake.

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    Last night I got two trains to operate independently, in different directions, controlled by two different power packs. Big progress!

    My control panel is partially finished. I need to wire all my turnouts and decide where the blocks should be and how many I actually want. I did screw up and order DPDT switches with no center-off position, so there'll be a delay in going much further with that until the new switches arrive. I'll probably (for now) just have 3 blocks - the outer track, the inner track and the reverse loop. Once the switches arrive, I'll dice it up further and replace the switches with no 'off' position to ones that do have that.

    I'll at least locate all the feeder wires and route them, so I can finally glue the track down into place after making whatever operational adjustments to make the trains run best. Then I can begin the fun stuff with scenery, buildings, land features, etc.

    Pictures? Well...I should at least *take* some before the layout gets much further, to document it for that big spread in Model Railroader that Kalmbach will surely want to do. Bwahahahahahah!

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  21. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by P-LineSoo View Post
    I did screw up and order DPDT switches with no center-off position, so there'll be a delay in going much further with that until the new switches arrive.
    I was thinking of using old-fashioned Atlas DPDT switches for my own block-wiring, which some say are ugly, but reportedly makes the wiring easier?

    Southern Pacific | Santa Fe | SPSF | BNSF | Metrolink | CalTrain | Chicago Metra | TGV Lyria

    railways by Kato Unitrack + Unitram | electric light-rail by Tomix | construction by Kato Diotown & Tomytec Co., Ltd. | vehicles by Busch GmbH & Co. KG
    ambient sound design by Fantasonics | digital command control by Dynamis Ultima | layout automation by RailController

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metrolink View Post
    I was thinking of using old-fashioned Atlas DPDT switches for my own block-wiring, which some say are ugly, but reportedly makes the wiring easier?
    I've heard the same, but I always envied those guys with their fancy control panels with all the toggle switches when I was a kid reading MR...so I had to go that route!

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    I like your last plan, and able to be achieved without using flex track too. I like how you have thought ahead and allowed for possible expansion at a later date.
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"
    "It is easy to criticize ... a lot harder when you have to justify it"

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    Quote Originally Posted by wombat457 View Post
    I like your last plan, and able to be achieved without using flex track too. I like how you have thought ahead and allowed for possible expansion at a later date.
    I can't take a lot of credit, I had a lot of help from people in this thread who've piped in with suggestions, and from using SCARM to tinker with the plan. You can kind of see the metamorphosis of it all by reading the entire thread. Of course, you'll never get THAT time back again! LOL I have tomorrow off and will finally get some pics up so one can see what I actually ended up with. It is slightly different from the last SCARM revision, but functionally the same.

    The room that this layout will eventually reside in and be expanded on is such so that this will be on the far right end. At that time, it most likely will end up being sort of an elongated dogbone end, the left side's outer curve will be loosened up in radius and be the front track of the middle part of the bone, the rear siding will be the back part of the bone. The inner curve will remain. but the outer curve on the left end will no longer connect, if that makes sense. I've already measured it all out.

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    It sounds good and look forward to seeing the final plan and it all come together.
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"
    "It is easy to criticize ... a lot harder when you have to justify it"

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