Modified Central Midland - Test Run

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Ericsauto

Active Member
Saturday Morning I got up to work on the final mainline of my modified Central MIdland and realized that I miscalculated some tunnel clearance to the old part of the layout. I had to extend the layout another 16" longer to make thinks work. ( I am happy , wife is not) :eek:

The layout has come a long way in a few weeks. I like this layout plan a lot except for the fact like most people have stated that the grades are more than I like. There are ways around that problem such as running less amount of cars and making sure you have enough power to pull. ( Good quality engines fix that problem. The plus side is that when the layout is done it will look great running up the grades through the mountains and that is what I like to model.

Believe it or not the test run went almost flawless. I had to adjust two parts of the track and fix a part that I put the rail joiner underneath the rail. :D

Here are a few pictures. Sorry I took them with my i-phone because I was tired and didn't want to bring the big camera out.

All & all I think I will like this layout and will be able to run some bigger stuff now . The grades will always have limitations , but what the heck I can deal with them and make them work in the layout. More pictures will be posted to my web link soon.

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Ericsauto

Active Member
You know I was going to buy one of those at the hobby shop. I am pulling a big 4.2 % grade on the way up to the double bridge. I also have a couple of 3% grades. That is why I had to extend the layout 16" is to soften that grade.

You are right about pulling more cars by tuning wheel sets. Also all my rolling stock have steel wheels now. That makes them roll very smooth.

I have had some issues uploading some pictures on this site again so check out my web link ( Below my signature line) for all the pictures.
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
Nice benchwork, and the results look very good.

It might only be the camera angle, but it looks like you struggled a bit with the vertical curves into grades. If you find later that you are unhappy with them, especially if the trains look unrealistic at the tops and bases of climbs, or if they have problems, you can always take up the track and fill the angled parts with plaster. Smooth it out as much as you can to make a consistent grade and also a vertical curve at each end. The other thing you can do is just fill it with ballast. Prop up the strack a bit until you like how it flows with strips of wood or cardstock, and then simply fill in below it with ballast and glue it well. Once it all settles and dries, you will have improved the looks of the curves and perhaps their functionality.

Again, I may be barking up the wrong tree, but I am going by what I think I see in some of the photos end-on to the double bridge. The part that stands out is the long tracks closest to the wall.

I like your eye for terrain and your river. I think you will soon develop into a very watchable modeller. :D

-Crandell
 

Ericsauto

Active Member
Thanks for the input. You know I really didn't struggle with the curves much at all. I tend to make my track work look not so uniform in some areas, it seems natural that way to me from what I have seen in real prototypes.

It might be the camera angle that throws you off. I will take some better pictures tonight and post them. The trains run smooth even though I have 22 degree minimum radius . Had some struggles with stupid mistakes though, but I think we all do that. A lot of the track will be hidden underneath the layout after I put the yard in. By time I start putting in the scenery most of the grades won't look so steep.

The long tracks along the wall, if I am thinking of what you are, are designed that way for a switching point and some scenery that will go there. Gives it a little character. Also when I was laying the track I made a lot of easements to help soften the curves and I think that might be what you are seeing.

Now I get to wire it. :eek:

Oh well that is what makes it fun.
 

Rico

BN Modeller
"Now I get to wire it. Oh well that is what makes it fun. "

Okay now repeat that several times a day followed by a good snork of Gibson's Finest! :p
 

Ericsauto

Active Member
wanted to update on my Layout. The holidays have been busy and I have done quite a bit of test running. I have come to the conclusion that I need to change a few things. I am going to start tearing down and rebuilding the one end of my layout ( the old part) that goes over and under. I don't like the grades still and I think I can soften some grades even though it may mean shortening the main line a bit.

My idea is to have a track branch off to the roundhouse area and take away the over and under effect. By doing this the grade will be cut in half and I will be happier with the trains running with a lot less drag.

That is why I have not posted pictures of any updates. I would highly recommend any one in this hobby to take a lot of time test running and don't get in a hurry to do scenery. The track work is the base of your layout and it is a lot easier to fix problems with no scenery on it than to fix it when you have done a lot of hard work on scenery.

I promised myself that is the way I was going to do this layout and I feel it will pay off at the end. As we all know this is not just a weekend project, it is a lifetime hobby.
 

waredbear

Member
I like what you have accomplished with your modified Central Midland. I have spent a lot of time the last few days looking at books to help me decide what layout to install into the space I cleared out in the basement. I liked the Oregan Pass Line (HO 36) in the Atlas book #14 but it was missing something. I just happened to find a train store today and was looking at the layout books when I spotted the Central Midland in book #13. Needless to say I bought the book. It is a modified HO 36 with just the right twist I was looking for. I've enjoyed looking over your changes and some of the others I've seen today here in the forums. It makes me want to extend my "room" over a few feet so I can add a longer yard and pick-up a few more feet of track. The good thing is the basement is unfinished so I can do what I want. The other side of the new wall is going to be my shop so I'm at the same junction as another poster...larger train room and smaller shop space???...or smaller train room and larger shop space???? Luckily the space is all mine. The wife doesn't care what I do with it.

More Later
Reid in NC
 
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Ericsauto

Active Member
Reid,

Glad you enjoyed. I promised to put more pictures up but I have not done it yet. With the modifications I have been doing a lot more adjustments.

I love the plan but unfortunately I am dealing with more that I like grades. Now I really think after I do the scenery the grades will add a lot of " flare" to the layout. Downside, less cars you can pull and a little slower speeds because of the grades. Traction tires are a must , at least on mine. I have also been experimenting with the product " Bullfrog Snot" ( what a name) for traction. if you have the room to make this layout a lot bigger then I would make the grades less at the same time as making it bigger.

I have been test running all my engines on it for the last month that is why I have not posted new pictures. I have 99 % of the kinks worked out of the track. I ended up with minimum 22 radius and max 24 radius. I did remove all 18 radius. Make it a double mainline. It is a lot easier to run trains when you just want to run them. You can use under table switches on most of the layout. You will have to use above layout machines around the yard area.

You have any questions or need advice on doing this , feel free to e-mail and I will do what I can.

I see you are from NC. I live in Ohio but was born in a SC , little town called Rockhill.

Have fun and good luck - Eric
 

35tac

Wayne B
Modified Central Midland

Our layout is moving along. We installed the reversers and our reverse loop issue is fixed. Slight adjustment is still need relative to a delay when polarity changes but its working. We used units from Tony's/DCC Specialties. Easy install. We also extended the yard by three feet for more room and some passenger cars. There are a couple of track issues causing unwanted coupler disengage and thats next. We havent decided about one section which is suggested in the Atlas book to be a loco service area. So that is also next. Its moving along. I'll try to post some pictures.
Wayne
 

Ericsauto

Active Member
Looking good Wayne. I have not yet wired the yard . Man I understand the track issues. That is why I am running test every night . I run all the Engines I have . Every night I run different sets of engines in both directions and then make adjustments.

Couple hints on the uncoupling part. If you have any plastic couplers on your engines or rolling stock , that will always be a problem. They tend to go out of adjustment easily. Use metal couplers and make sure you have height gauge. Also I have found small "dips" at joints in the track. If you are using track nails , pull them up a little to see if they will level the track. You may have to use a thin shim under it. I notice you are using foam track bed. I had that on my old layout and it is a little more "touchy" to get track level. That is why I went back with cork. Just remember: test- test-test . I hate that part of it but it will be worth it.
 

35tac

Wayne B
Eric, thanks for the info. We have already made the move to using Kadee's and metal wheel sets. I am also correcting the weights of the rolling stock and I am sure that adjusting the weight is going to help in the long run. I have two Wheeling and Lake Erie SD40-2 from Paragon (not current) that the couplers sit low and I need to change those but we have adjusted a lot of our current rolling stock. I will mark the offending areas when I start to test. We want to get it right.
Thanks
Wayne

BTW notice the orange cones in the yard, they are markers for our rare earth magnets for uncoupling. They work great and we are going to try to use those exclusively. The bumpers are Tomar Hayes type that were on sale at Walthers. My LHS ordered them for me. I like the way that the yard extension turned out. More room. The other picture is the offending reverse loop area that really is working a lot better. I think there is an adjustment for the shorts that we are getting so some locos dont stall for 2 seconds. The entire layour is Atlas code 83 sectional with a little flextrack.
 
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UP2CSX

Fleeing from Al
Are you planning to have at least one crossover or runaround track for that yard? That's a long stretch of track and needs an escape route somewhere, or your switcher will be stuck.
 

Ericsauto

Active Member
Hey Wayne you could also take one of the stops off the end of one of the tracks and that would be a very quick exit. LOL :D
 

Ericsauto

Active Member
Finally I updated some pictures. Go to my gallery and I have posted all the pictures. I straighten the curves coming off the twin bridges going up to the dual bridge. I am starting to install foam so the terrain is beginning to come alive.

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UP2CSX

Fleeing from Al
Looks much better with the easier curves between the bridges. It will also run a lot better. The grades still look tough but you know that. The "Bullfrog Snot" has gotten good reviews and should help you out. The only caution I'd add is that it's sometimes too good. Some reports I've read is that it will allow a locomotive to climb a grade without slipping but also exceeding the amperage cababilty of the motor and decoder. I'd urge you to run some test trains while using a mutimeter, so you know how many amps you're drawing. I wouldn't run an engine at more than 75% of the rated capacity, so a locomotive making the grade pulling .9 amps is working too hard, and the motor and/or decoder will eventually put out the magic smoke. Know in advance which grades you're going to always have to use at least two engines on before you discover this by blowing one up.
 

Ericsauto

Active Member
Jim you are correct on the Bullfrog Snot and using two engines. That is the sacrifice you make for tough grades. Stronger engines, less cars , better wheel maintenance , etc, etc. all is what needs to be done to " Make the Grades"

IMO - Bullfrog Snot is good, not great , but good. You have to practice putting it on. Can be a pain in the butt .They tell you to use a toothpick and put drops on while you run the engine at about 1/4 throttle. That works on some but not all. You have to devise your own methods. I have found what works for me is a small brush and very thin coats. I will put one coat on and try it. Then if needed I put another thin coat on. If you put it onjust the rear drive wheels you will still get some slip. If you try to put it on more wheels you take a chance of losing contact points. Also I found that it makes the trains a little more noisy. That is why I have sound in my engines:D

Steam engines are a little tougher to do than diesels because of the wheel widths. I think they say on the web site or bottle that blacken wheels it does not work on. I'll have to read up on that again.

At $24.95 a tiny bottle it looks like a rip-off. I have to stick up for them, you get a lot for the price. You can do ( my guess) Hundreds of wheels. Buy traction tires at $7.00 a 18 pack and this Bullfrog Snot is a better buy by far.

More testing results to come.
 




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