Redo on my Chinese railroad layout

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Frank

Active Member
I threw out my previous layout as it became obvious that it wasn't going to work as I wanted. This is a layout I found in a book and then heavily modified.

This is an N scale layout with Atlas code 80 tracks. The exterior dimensions are 3'x2'. This is going to be my central module, Hence the 6 different rails hitting the edges of the board and the switchyards. Haven't decided about terrain, landscape or industry yet, but with all those spurs, I should have some options.

Feel free to blast away. I know the 9 3/4" turns are a bit tight, but I'm modeling the late 19th century early 20th, so the trains should be short enough for that. Plus, I don't exactly have much room. :p

N622NP_3x2_mod_1.png
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
I threw out my previous layout as it became obvious that it wasn't going to work as I wanted. This is a layout I found in a book and then heavily modified.
Ok, I've been waiting for the punch line. What makes it a "Chinese Railroad"? Are you going to run Chinese prototype equipment?
 

Frank

Active Member
Ok, I've been waiting for the punch line. What makes it a "Chinese Railroad"? Are you going to run Chinese prototype equipment?
To the extent possible. I'm planning on basing things on a combination of traditional Chinese culture and prototypes that would be appropriate to the early 20th century. So, most likely, German or French locomotives, with the buildings being modeled after what Chinese architecture of the time looked like. But, space wise I'm probably not going to have room for things like proper easements or necessarily some of the taller features on this module that I'd like.

I'm more about having fun running trains, so there'll probably be a few dragons and perhaps either the Tardus, a Delorean or possible that time machine from the Time Machine rather than being a slave to prototype.

I had a thread about it probably 8 months ago, but saving for the layout has taken longer than I'd like and even this is probably going to be delayed a bit as I need to save up for those switches. But, planning is fun, and if I get things adequately planned ahead of time, I'll hopefully avoid the largest pitfalls.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
I had a thread about it probably 8 months ago, but saving for the layout has taken longer than I'd like and even this is probably going to be delayed a bit as I need to save up for those switches. But, planning is fun, and if I get things adequately planned ahead of time, I'll hopefully avoid the largest pitfalls.
Well, I've been planning for about 50 years now, so you can't have too much fun doing that. So someday I'll get to building.
 
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Frank

Active Member
Well, I've been planning for about 50 years now. So someday I'll get to building.
In the near term, I'm building a rifle case switching layout because that way I'll have a layout that I can afford and to learn to model for while I save for the bigger set up. I'm likely to also take my HO tracks from a previous layout that I no longer have space for and build a little shelf layout. Perhaps that time wasting switching puzzle I keep hearing about.

Fortunately, the design and daydreaming are a large part of the fun of the hobby. So, I'm not as concerned about getting everything finished. I just want to get some track together so that I can run my trains. The rest of it can happen as I have spare money.
 

Frank

Active Member
I finally got to the train show a late February and I've mostly got the track laid out now. I've still got a small amount of non-mainline track that I'll need to pick up, but on the whole, I was pleased that it fit pretty well. This is going to be the most busy section of track that I'm going to have on any of the modules I do.

The big question right now is managing all those switches. I haven't let myself enough from for the usual manual ground throws and I'm working on figuring out how to do that. I've seen some folks create a sort of longer tie that allows for the switch to be located beyond the next track, but I'm not sure if that's going to be the best strategy or if there's a better. Ideally, I'd like to go with a switch machine at some point in the future, but I can't afford that at this time. I'd prefer to have an operating layout before spending money on non-essentials.
 

Attachments

santafewillie

Same Ol' Buzzard
Regarding room for ground throws. If those are Atlas switches, the tie bar can be removed and reversed. This allows the ground throw to go on the other side. Use a small screwdriver to carefully lift the tabs and wriggle a bit. Turn it around and carefully reinsert. Can only be done with the switch in hand, not mounted. I have not tried this with any other brand other than toy train switches like Tyco or Lifelike. The switch motor has to be removed without shortening the tie bar.

Willie
 

Frank

Active Member
Regarding room for ground throws. If those are Atlas switches, the tie bar can be removed and reversed. This allows the ground throw to go on the other side. Use a small screwdriver to carefully lift the tabs and wriggle a bit. Turn it around and carefully reinsert. Can only be done with the switch in hand, not mounted. I have not tried this with any other brand other than toy train switches like Tyco or Lifelike. The switch motor has to be removed without shortening the tie bar.

Willie
Thanks, sorry for the extremely late reply, I thought that I'd replied.

I've recently gained access to several 3d printers, so it seems the easiest thing to do is to just print something to go underneath the tracks that allows for the machinery to be moved a few inches to where it's out of the way. With appropriate camouflaging, I'm sure it can be made to look nice enough. Future expansions with less density will probably look better.

I'll probably not be able to locate the typical switches near the track for that authentic look, but
 

Frank

Active Member
It's starting to take shape here. I've got the main loop running relatively smoothly now and most of that soldered. 3 of the sidings function. I'm not bothering with the track at the top yet, but I should be ready to start laying some rail bed this week. The switch direction is still a little confusing, I'll have to figure out a reasonable way of keeping it straight. Perhaps eventually some LEDs, but that will be later.
IMG_20181212_102457-1.jpg
 

Frank

Active Member
Since they've come down in price so much, I've opted to buy a 3d printer. It's a Creality3D Ender - 3 DIY 3D Printer Kit. From the looks of it, is well worth the money since I'm going to be doing so many custom models over the course of the project.
 

Frank

Active Member
Had a little bit of a mishap putting down my track bed. In the future, I would be well-advised to position the track on top of the foam while it's still workable. Fortunately, the foam came back up with some warm water and minimal damage to either the underlying foam or track bed. I'm using Woodland Scenic's foam tack glue, which I assume is similar to Elmer's and the like. It certainly looks and behave suspiciously similar.

But, I did receive my 3d printer today, so I'll likely be able to start printing some switches in the near future and get the whole thing electrified from below.
 

Frank

Active Member
OK, I got most of that foam glued down. I haven't bothered to glue foam for the spur going off to the turn table, or the two that come off of it, but the rest of it is down and looking fairly good. I won't be gluing those down until I've got the rest of the track in place and wired. I haven't decided if I like the turntable I've got. I may make my own with the crank removed and motorized from the bottom via a DCC controlled motor.

I may replace a bunch of the sectional track with some flexible track, but I'll think about that later. The curves on the right and left side of the board are slightly too long to make it a single piece per side.

Next up is to start installing the switches and power.
IMG_20181212_102457-1.jpg
 

migalyto

Well-Known Member
I'm using Woodland Scenic's foam tack glue, which I assume is similar to Elmer's and the like. It certainly looks and behave suspiciously similar.
Several of Woodland Scenics products are commercially available items put in there package, or bottle, and sold at double the cost.
 

Frank

Active Member
Several of Woodland Scenics products are commercially available items put in there package, or bottle, and sold at double the cost.
Wouldn't surprise me. It's been working well for me, so I don't regret the purchase, but I do suspect that it might be the same as Elmer's glue. But, unfortunately, I won't likely know for quite some time. In my experience, Elmer's tends to turn yellow over time and hopefully this won't.

I know the tacks that I bought from them are more or less just big t pins or whatever you call them. But, I'll be able to reuse them enough times that the overcharging probably isn't that big of a deal.
 

Frank

Active Member
You're certainly getting a lot of railroad into a small space! Looks good!;)
Thanks, I spent a large amount of time trying to fit something in there. It's a bit unfortunate that I won't have much space for scenery, but using a 3'x2' footprint and demanding that I have at least one continuous loop really painted me into a corner. Hopefully on future modules I'll be able to go nuts with scenery.

BTW, I love the sig, great show.
 

Frank

Active Member
I've got my soldering done. Apparently, these Atlas turnouts do route power. Which confuses me as all the references I've seen say that they don't. But, nearly all of the track is powered by just powering the two outer rails on the left loop.

I'm not entirely happy with the job I did soldering this, so I'll probably redo it in the future, before I replace the missing ties. But, it's a halfway decent job that most people probably won't notice. The other end of the feeders is attached to a screw type terminal block, which should make it very easy to work with if I decide to add a buss wire or add feeders. And definitely when I start to add switch machines. It's massively overspecced, it's like 600V @ 15A, so there's absolutely no possibility of it being a problem.

Next up is setting up all the turnout throws and gluing the track in place. At which point, the layout will be essentially done in terms of the track and I'll be able to put my attention on the buildings and scenery.

trackSolder.jpg
 

migalyto

Well-Known Member
Looks good to me, once you add ties, paint the rails, and ballast it will be pretty unnoticeable. Soldering feeders were really tough for me to learn how to do, and be fairly invisible. Take some scrap track, and practice.
 

Frank

Active Member
Looks good to me, once you add ties, paint the rails, and ballast it will be pretty unnoticeable. Soldering feeders were really tough for me to learn how to do, and be fairly invisible. Take some scrap track, and practice.
That's a good point, and I can probably get away with just cleaning it up. And when I do the track weathering, it's probably going to be even less noticeable. I'm relatively new to this, so it's not always clear what will and won't be visible. For example, those extra holes that I drilled in the wrong place won't be visible from the top, and they'd be a real pain to fix anyways.

For power, this seems to be about all I really need, but if I decide to do a lighted LED map for managing the switches, I'll need to get pretty good at this.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
I've got my soldering done. Apparently, these Atlas turnouts do route power. Which confuses me as all the references I've seen say that they don't. But, nearly all of the track is powered by just powering the two outer rails on the left loop.
You are confused on the terms. When the power flows through both routes of the turnout all the time is it NOT power routing. Power routing is when the power only goes down the path the turnout is switched to. The other track would be electrically dead because both rails would be the same polarity.

This is why my original recommendation was simply two wires to the track.

Next up is setting up all the turnout throws and gluing the track in place.
View attachment 33136
Can your printer make up 5 ties on a curve to fill that gap?
 




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