Saturday, July 05, 2014

Inaugural Train on the rebuilt staging ramp

Today, the first train ran on the rebuilt staging ramp tracks.

The two rebuilt staging ramp tracks are on the left. The track in the middle leads to the Prechtal return loop. Some lower level staging tracks accessed from via the ramp are visible on the right.
Yesterday and this morning I installed wiring for the new tracks.

Since I moved the crossover further down the ramp, there is now sufficient trackage between Talheim and the crossover to put in the originally planned for --- but due to track layout constraints never installed --- train detection section on the downhill track.

I also extended the respective detection section of the uphill track, which freed up a sensor to properly detect trains on the uphill track around the crossover. Thus, the JMRI panel now tracks progress of trains on the upper half of the ramp much more accurately.

I found that one of the K-Track switch machines I installed for the crossover had broken clips and didn't throw the uphill turnout properly. That was easily fixed, but swear words were used since accessing the turnout cabling is a slight bit awkward. The space in the access hatch is limited. Thus, no matter how you twist your arms and hands, your own body is always just a whee bit in the way to get the right angle for turning the screwdriver.

My next layout won't have 8 tracks stacked on top of each other over 3 levels in difficult to reach places.

I've got only a few things left to do here, mostly around securing the new tracks in place and creating a smooth transition from the underground M-Track to the new K-Track section.

... and for the rivet counters among us:
The train on the photo should use the right-hand (uphill) track when it comes out of staging if this were a proper double-track arrangement. However, it's not normally visible to the viewer anyways, and I'm also thinking of the ramp as two single tracks with cross-overs. 
Let me explain: Staging represents both Freiburg (plus points south) and Hausach (plus points north). For better flow of operations, trains usually occupy the ramp right-hand running to leave and enter staging and use the turnouts at Abzweig Talheim to select whether they traverse the layout from the North or the South. Using the two crossovers on the ramp (one at the top, one at the bottom), a train may use the "wrong" ramp track to pass a pre-staged train waiting on the ramp on the way up, or to work around congestion in Talheim on the way down.

One might even use the uphill track to run a train down to the dead-end staging tracks below Talheim industries, while another train is lined to use the regular downhill track to enter main staging. Technically the signal arrangement and interlocking in Talheim doesn't allow for this when coming from the North, but that could change if and when I install an Ausfahrsignal (exit signal) southbound on track 2 in Talheim.

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