In the real world, at least in the United States, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) conducts periodic track inspections. Standards are set in the Code of Federal Regulations. Track is not my strong suite so I asked Gary Siegel to come over and do an inspection. Armed with an NMRA gauge, some other tools and a roll of red tape, Gary made his way around the first level. What he left me with was a sea of red tape which I have slowly been working through and making corrections. Some of the problems involve the rail connection to the ties coming loose and the rails being out of gauge. Most of the problems are in the turnouts. Here are a few photos of the red tape around the layout.
Locale: SP Coast Line, California Coast, Carpinteria to Devon
(Possible third level to San Miguel)
Era: 1994 (Possible change to 1964)
Style: Point to Point
# Decks: 2 (possible third)
Minimum radius: 27”
Typical aisle width: 30” (Minimum 25”)
Minimum turnout: #8 main line sidings, #6 off main and in yards, #5 industry spurs
Maximum grade: 2% (3% on White Hills Branch)
Benchwork: L Girder, Open Grid, Shelf Brackets and Thin Walls Also threaded rod supports and laminated 1/8 plywood roadbed for helix
First level 38” – 48”
Second level 54" to 64"
Main Line approximately 100 feet each level
Branch line 60 feet
Outer - 40 feet
Inner - 90 feet
Total (including staging yards) ~ 422 feet (7 scale miles)
Roadbed: Homosote over Plywood in staging yards, Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Lompoc and White Hills. Masonite spline for other areas
Track: Code 100 staging
· Code 83 main
· Code 70 sidings and yards
· Code 55 industry spurs
Scenery: (method and %) Hardshell 1%
Backdrop: Thin wall acts as a backdrop. Thin wall is painted blue as are the room walls and ceiling.
Control: NCE DCC - wired and radio throttles
Operating Crew: not operating yet. Estimated 6 -7
Operating System: Direct Traffic Control (DTC) for 1994 or Timetable and Train Order (TT/TO) for 1964
Car Movement: Car cards and waybills.
Train Length: SP freight train lengths are about 14 to 18 cars plus locomotive.
SP or Amtrak passenger trains depending on the time period operated.
Operations: Simulate actual SP operations
Start with 1994 modified “mother may I” dispatching moving toward direct traffic control (DTC)
Start with locals from Santa Barbara to Carpinteria and Goleta
Add through freights – some with block swapping at Santa Barbara
Add limited passenger
Lompoc local to Lompoc and White Hills
Add helper operations over Cuesta if third level is built
Migrate to 1964 using Timetable and Train Order with remote DS possible Computer control via JMRI
Special Features: The staging yards are designed following Byron Henderson’s “X-factor” article in Model Railroad Planning 2004. There are 16 staging tracks (7 east, and 9 west) ranging in length from 10’6” to 11’6”. These are connected to facilitate restaging.
Industries include lemon packing houses, diatomaceous earth, local petroleum distributors, local cement batch plants, local lumber yards, team tracks, agriculture packing houses.
See more discussion in first blog post of June 12, 2009.