Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Track at Surf and a Reverser

When I first put track down at Surf, I put in some flextrack off the helix and did not cut in the turnouts for the siding or for the wye on the east end. Several weeks ago I went back and took out the flextrack and installed three turnouts. The turnout from the main to the siding is a curved #8 that I built off the layout and then put in place coming off the helix.

The other two turnouts were from the main to the storage track and from the storage track to the east leg of the wye. Here is an overall view of Surf with the helix at the top and Carpinteria on the lower level below the tracks at Surf.

In addition to the trackage, I also installed an auto-reverser so that engines can move across the area of the wye without polarity issues. The auto-reverser is a DCC Specialties PSX-AR. It was quite easy to install. It has the capability to run a tortoise switch machine so I might attach it to the tortoise I expect to install on the leg toward Lompoc. Here is a photo showing the Lompoc leg of the wye disappearing through the thin wall with the auto-reverser installed underneath the east leg.

Here is a close-up photo of the auto-reverser installed.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Few More Car Card Boxes

I plan on using the car card and waybill method of moving cars from one location to another. When cars are spotted at an industry or in a yard, there is a need to store the corresponding car cards and waybills nearby to keep track of the cars. As I have mentioned before, I have already compromised my original druther of 36 inch aisles. As a result, I am continually looking for ways to minimize any intrusion into the aisle space. One of the best way I have seen is the use of car card boxes behind the fascia in the manner that Rick Fortin has on his layout.

I had built the boxes before and just needed to cut some additional holes in the fascia and mount the boxes behind the finished holes. I hope the following series of photos adequately demonstrates the process followed.

I also added a strip of plastic to hold car cards when they are being sorted. The strip is trim for holding FRP and is available at home improvement stores. It is visible in the last two photos above. I also am using some "J-bar" from Tap Plastics -

Both seem to work OK. Here is a photo of the clear J-bar just visible at the top of the fascia parallel to the track. Click on any of the photos for a larger view.

Measure Once, Cut Numerous Times!

Over two weeks ago I promised some updates and the time has flown past. I have decided to not bite off more than I can obviously chew and post several smaller items to get us caught up.

The first is an issue that I discovered almost a year ago. As you might recall, I spent some time at the Ventura County Fair last year assisting my friend Bob Lyon on his booth (see the post from August 20, 2010). At the fair I worked on several structures including the Standard Oil building for Carpinteria (see the post from August 23, 2010). There are several photos of the model building in that earlier post. If you look at the photos you will notice that the edge of the building is resting on the top of the fascia. I had modified the original kit so that it would fit into the space I thought I had. I obviously did not measure accurately as the building is not only a bit to large for the space but also makes it impossible to run a car down to the end of the Standard Oil spur track.

I looked at the model and decided I did not want to try to take it apart and shorten it up. That meant I needed to make the space I had bigger. One of the problems with cutting is that it usually makes items smaller. It is very difficult to make them bigger. In this case, I decided to go further against one of my initial druthers and narrow my aisle.

With the structure right on the aisle, I could envision it getting snagged as someone walked by so I needed to deal with that situation also. I had some Plexiglas so I planned on adding that to the outside of the model for protection.

I cut several short strips of masonite, the first was 1/4" like I use for the spline roadbed and the second was 1/8" like I use for the fascia. I placed those on the aisle side of the homasote of the Carpinteria section and then added the Plexiglas. This added 1/2" to a short 30" section of the layout infringing on that much aisle space. I guess I will have to work harder at reducing my girth so I can still fit in the aisle. Here is a top down photo showing the track with cars, the structure, the Homasote, the additional masonite, and the Plexiglas.

I then tested the spur track with one boxcar and it fit fine. Hoping to have learned my lesson about measuring twice and cutting once, I tested the track again with another boxcar and found the boxcar's door rail scrapped along the roof of the Standard Oil building. I decided this time to trim about 1/16" off the roof, which had a good overhang. After trimming the roof the wider boxcar slid by the building without contact. Lots of extra work but it fits fine now with some protection. Hopefully I will measure more closely in the future.

Here are a few photos of the finished retrofit.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

NMRA Daylight Division Meet

Progress is continuing on the Santa Barbara Subdivision and I will update the blog about that in a week or so. For now I will just say the helix is back together, the mainline, siding and wye tracks have all been permanently installed. I installed an autoreverser on the wye which works nicely. I finally made the decisions about the trackwork in the Santa Barbara industrial area so tracks are in and wired. I have also added some additional car card boxes for the Santa Barbara industries, but all this will be covered in the next installment.

For now, I would like to step back three weeks to May 21 when the Daylight Division of the Pacific Coast Region of the NMRA had their quarterly meet in Santa Barbara. I usually get called upon to help organize the meet here and this time was no exception. We met at Gary Siegel's house and everyone enjoyed seeing the progress Gary has made on his outdoor 1:32 layout. They also enjoyed his fabulous indoor HO L&N EK Division. It is my pleasure to operate on this superb railroad.
The meet included three clinics - modeling Eucalyptus trees, railroad traffic control systems [including a field trip to Gary's functioning CTC machine.] and how to track down shorts on you layout [an electrical discussion] -, a lunch, a business meeting, a white elephant auction, and lots of comraderie. After the meet several local layouts were open, including the SP Santa Barbara Subdivision. I had about 16 folks come by. Most of them had been to the Santa Barbara Subdivision before but the last time the Daylight Division came by there was only one level and only part of the thin walls up so they were impressed by the progress. To me it seems interminably slow, but I see it all the time.

Here is a photo taken by Brewster Bird during the Daylight Division Layout tour.

Check back in a week for the next update with details of the progress.