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Thread: The Soo's P-Line

  1. #41
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    I wanted to spend all of my day off yesterday working on the layout, but got sidetracked with a couple of other projects (that always seems to happen). I did get two turnouts wired up (that's the two steps forward) but developed a problem with my feeder track to the inner loop (the one step back). Once I have that fixed and working again (maybe this afternoon, more likely Sunday or Monday), I'll wire up the rest of the turnouts and wire the reverse loop, and then wait for the arrival of the center-off switches as they make their way here on the proverbial slow boat from China. At that point, Block 1 and 2 switches will be replaced and the rest of the blocks configured.

    The lake and river have been cut into the foam, a more difficult task than I had envisioned, and I'm not overly pleased with the 2" foam at this point -- it's a little too dramatic for most rivers around here, though I can think of prototypical examples in my area. I was thinking more in terms of 'stream' instead of our major rivers like the Wolf or the Wisconsin. Eh...it's a freelance layout at this point. Maybe I'll just pour a lot of 'lake' into it to shorten up the banks, even put a hydro dam in where the river starts.

    Again, I've threatened you all with pictures and again, I'm crying 'Wolf'. Left my phone in the missus' car yesterday. Oh well...

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    Quote Originally Posted by P-LineSoo View Post
    Maybe I'll just pour a lot of 'lake' into it to shorten up the banks
    Why not fill the area for the river/s with plaster of paris to get a better depth for them and a lower bank? Would save on trying to "fill the river" with your water product.

    One thing you might want to try is "burning the rivers/streams" into the foam instead of trying to cut them in.
    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
    Why not fill the area for the river/s with plaster of paris to get a better depth for them and a lower bank? Would save on trying to "fill the river" with your water product.

    One thing you might want to try is "burning the rivers/streams" into the foam instead of trying to cut them in.
    Cutting them in had one advantage...all I'd have to do is paint the foam and it would look just like the banks of the Wolf south of Fremont, WI. Unfortunately, the Soo crosses the Wolf North of Fremont. LOL

    Thanks for the tip, Plaster of Paris is a hell of a lot cheaper than water! I think I'll fill the lake, and put in an old-style small hydro dam like the one a few miles from me. That would make the river banks prototypical, add another dimension of fun to the layout, make another interesting water feature with water spilling over the dam and explain the lake being there a little more, as a spring-fed pond that was dammed to make a lake and generate electricity.

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    Sounds like a plan.
    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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    Here's the latest on my 1940's-50's Soo Line layout:

    - Control panel has 6 of 10 turnout switches wired. Running off of old 12VDC laptop power supply, works great.
    - 2 blocks have been wired and block switches installed. Holding off on more blocks til center-off switches (ordered) arrive.
    - Lake and river cut into foam.
    - All track is more or less in place, but not cemented yet (won't do that til wiring of track plan and a couple weeks of testing are complete).
    - Picked up some small trackside buildings
    - Have 8 reefer cars on the way. Hoping to rebadge as Soo with minimal work.
    - Won an auction for a cool general store type of building that's very representative of many tavern/stores that used to be around here. Perfect for a store out by the lake. Some 1940's era gas pumps out in front and some more details and it will be perfect for that bait shop/general store/ice cream sort of place.
    (edit: found out it's an old AHM kit from a zillion years ago)

    Tonight I hope to wire the last of the mainline switches and wire the reversing loop. After that, I'll wire the yard and add a few feeder tracks as needed after running some trains. Then I can finally put the buildings in place and start scenery.

    I will take pics, right now it's such a mess that it doesn't do much good to take pics until all the tools, wiring stuff, hardware, crap and misc get put away.

    My soldering skills are improving but still resembles bird crap.

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  7. #46
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    I've learned not to glue the track down during the entire building process. I temporarily pin the Tomix with track nails. Eventually, the track is permanently attached as the flood glue from ground cover seeps under the tracks.

    This way if any problems happen it is easy pull the track up without a lot of work.

    Between the track nails and the wiring holding the track in place, pretty good. Sometimes for years.
    Use what you know about the world to model…
    Learn from modeling what you don't know about the real world.



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    I was thinking along similar lines, C&NW. I wired up another switch last night, which leaves just the yard switches. I almost got to the point where I can start putting things together again and take a picture or two, but one of my switches stopped working already. Probably my bird **** soldering job. Over the weekend I should get a lot done and be running trains and starting scenery, for the most part.

    Yes, gluing track down may be the last thing that I do. I might glue it in a spot or two that is giving me trouble, but that's it.

    Looking forward to scenery and buildings. I guess at this point a lot of thought needs to be put into what type and how many buildings I want to add, and where. I'd like to represent a small town on one side and more of a wooded resort area on the other.

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    And here's the long promised picture. I'm having trouble with my reverse loop, but only in exiting the loop. The problem seems to be the power-routing Kato switches. Polarity switching is working as expected, but the engine can't get through the switch. I think I'm going to have to jumper power to all three exits of the switch.

    layout.jpg

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  11. #49
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    Do you have the switch isolated electrically? I don't have the issue on my reverse loop with the same switches.

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    That's probably the problem, can you explain for dunderheads like myself?

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    If I recall, I spent an entire Sunday morning messing with mine, but ultimately, I isolated the 4 diverging rails of each switch then powered on the other side it seemed to take care of the issue. The only exception is if you have back to back switches, then do the last switch.

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    colorlayout.jpgHere's the layout color-coded, albeit poorly, for the blocks currently in place. It's pretty simple. Blue is block 1, Red is block 2, and Green is the reverse loop.

    It's wired by having a separate block feeding the reverse loop that bypasses the rest of the layout. On that circuit, from the terminals on the control panel, the circuit goes to a switch to decide if power comes from power pack 1 or power pack 2, and after that is a polarity switch, and then the feed to the track. Then there are two switches, one on each side of the above switches, to determine polarity for all of power pack 1 and all of power back 2 EXCEPT the reverse loop.

    EDIT: The short section of curved track at the center left of your screen that is uncolored should be BLUE.

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    Quote Originally Posted by P-LineSoo View Post
    The short section of curved track at the center left of your screen that is uncolored should be BLUE.
    Why? It would be more intuitive to me to make that part of the red block. Just curious as to your reasoning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket Jones View Post
    Why? It would be more intuitive to me to make that part of the red block. Just curious as to your reasoning.
    As my dad would say, it's a horse apiece. It's just the other connecting piece to the outer loop, the first one is by the yard. It could go with outer (1) or inner (2), either way...the isolated joiners are just outside to the left or NW of the end-to-end switches at the foot of the lake. I could certainly move them up to the mainline switch on (1) if you think it's a good idea...

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    Six o' one, half dozen o' the other. LOL In my mind, the "blue" should be the outer loop, not the outer loop and that bit of track tailing inward. Just me, certainly a preference.

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    I have decided that I'm not a fan of power-routing switches. Or maybe I am. I'm not sure. They have pointed out to me a couple areas that need feeder wires yet. I guess after I add the feeders I will try the reverse loop again, but I think I'll have to electrify the stub that's turning outward from the main with a feeder to get this to work. The minute the engine crosses the insulated joiners connecting to this, it stops dead in it's tracks, polarity be damned.

    It was fun last night running two trains in opposite directions on the two loops. I have one curve section that my decapod doesn't like, I'll have to address that.
    Last edited by P-LineSoo; 13th Sep 2016 at 09:54 AM.

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    I have another experiment to perform, and that is that I have a small chunk of foam which I've glued a section of Kato track to, as a practice piece for scenery. I've blasted the rails with a flat brown out of a rattle can that I use on painting SOO boxcars and then wiped the rails and ties clean quickly with paper towel. I'm going to sift, clean and demagnetize the very find sand under our house (not a full basement but a crawl space) and try using that for ballast and see how it turns out. If I like it, I'll do the whole layout.

    Ballast on the SOO looks sort of brownish-pink at a distance, definitely not grey.

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    Soo ballast:

    Attachment 83732

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    Tonight I added another feeder and got my reverse loop working without a hitch. Now a little more wiring yet and I can finally start on scenery and paying attention to rolling stock and motive power. My deferred maintenance program has the line running like the Milwaukee Road circa 1980...lots of derails and coupler problems. Time to get out the NMRA track gauge and start tweaking.

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    Yellow arrow points to where I had to put the additional feeder on the red block to get the reverse loop to fully function. Pink arrows show where the existing feeders were. I could stand to get a little less stingy on my feeder tracks, no doubt.

    feeder.jpg

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