Friday, July 09, 2010

Welcome to the 3 weeks of crazy

I'm off from work for another 3 weeks. While I'm still finishing up the kitchen, I'm also going to use this time to make the layout operations complete. Well, at least the trackwork.

Here's what's on the agenda:
  • paint backdrop on the wall (mostly blue sky and some mountain ridges)
  • complete ramps to Emsingen, both along the back wall, as well as the circle route to the return loop at Abzweig Talheim
  • install all double ended tracks in Talheim station, including roadbed, switches, and track feeders. 
At this point the railroad is operational again and I can run through trains and do meets in Emsingen (after all I'm modeling a single-track main line). I'm planning to slightly deviate from the track plan and use flex track in Emsingen station to break up the rather monotonous 4-parallel-tracks arrangement there.

Next up:
  • install single-ended tracks in Emsingen
  • wire up all track feeders
  • install switch machines for Emsingen switches
Now I can run freight operations on the layout, serving most online industries.
  • build lok station area, including turntable and related storage tracks
Phew, that's a lot already. Somewhere along the way I want to try and get computer control with JMRI running so that I can use my Android phone(s) as walk around throttle(s) and also get started with automating staging.

That will likely fill up the 3 weeks.

Later this year, once I ran trains for a while, converted more locomotives to digital, and generally have a better feel for what works and what doesn't I will revisit the track arrangement in Talheim. As mentioned before, I'm not that happy with the flow of switching operations there, especially serving the saw mill which requires quite a bit of zig-zagging to pick up and spot cars.

When the railroad is reasonably operational, I'll start with basic scenery.

For starters, today I built a cover for network and TV cables on the back wall so they don't get in the way of the back drop, and installed fluorescent lighting in the train room using the old bulbs and sockets we removed from the kitchen. Originally, I used a 300W halogen torch. Then I installed a cheapo 3-lamp ceiling light and put in very nice daylight CFLs. This worked reasonably well, but the light was very uneven in the layout area, and some areas in the foreground had deep shadows.

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