Monday, January 21, 2019

Module 1: Electrical

I'm almost done with wiring up module 1. Another late evening job, and I sure hope this is actually going to work, since I have not tested the track yet. If it doesn't, ... well, at least I've gone through the motions once and know what to do for the next module.

I really like working on cabling this way. I sit or stand at the work bench, tools in front of me, soldering iron on the side. I can turn the module for convenient access, or rotate it like in this shot from earlier in the evening

No fuzzing around under the layout. Really nice.

The module is much lighter than a layout, so while it stands easily, it also easily tips over. But with no scenery on the other side yet, I can put it on its face as needed, too.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Testing Connectors

I wired up the experimental module end. The wiring follows the FREMO Puko 2.0 standard with 4mm plugs and couplers on each end per rail and a pair of plugs for the center studs. The cables are supposed to be stored inside the module, held in place by wooden clothspins glued to the module.

Module 1: Not quite perfect

I dusted off the frame for module 1 I built in October, and cut some Peco SL100 flex track. The idea here is to build a module that attempts to hide the Maerklin-typical center studs as much as possible, and get an idea about the amount of work it takes to do it, while staying compatible with regular Maerklin K-track.

This time I used the "melt-it-into-the-plastic-ties" method of attaching the pickup studs from Weichen Walter. This feels easier than the "screw-and-solder" method I used on the test piece. However, it's still quite easy to drift off the middle and not hit center line, so my studs are not 100% straight. I wonder how I'm going to do that on a curved module...
Attaching the center studs takes time, but goes faster than I expected. The strip sticks out below the track by about 0.7mm and that needs to be taken into account when mounting the track. I cut a V-groove into the trackbed, which worked quite well.

Overall, it turned out not too shabby, but I certainly can do better, and need more practice...

Friday, January 11, 2019

Track Experiment

After cleaning up the work bench, I'm trying something new tonight. A test piece with Peco track converted to operation with Maerklin rolling stock using Weichen-Walter Puko strips.

The strips are etched and stick out slightly under the track. On this test piece I ended up cutting a slot into the road bed for the bottom edge of the Puko strip. This is the technique described in the documentation using brass screws and soldering the Puko strips to the screws.

I have a few more strips to try another approach that should be easier with curved track.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Dave Park's Cumberland West - Western Maryland

Busy times at George's Creek Tower. Extra 185, the Frostburg Mine Turn is switching the mine at George's Creek in the Cumberland Narrows and has the rear of the train protected with a flag man. Meanwhile Extra 61, the Alphajet 12 manifest, creeps onto the scene and keeps their distance from the flag man.

My second assignment of the evening is Extra 174 with the Barnum Mine Turn, delivering empty coal cars to the mines in Barnum, and returning to Knobmount Yard with loaded coal cars later in the session. After several delays around MY Tower and Knobmount Yard, 174 got moving only fairly late in the session.

174 has reached Barnum and I'm happily replacing loaded cars from the mine with empty cars I brought up from Knobmount. This photo was taken at the end of the session. I finished the switching here, and then tied up in the yard at West Virginia Junction for the night.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Stories in Light at Villa Montalvo

We had a great evening at Villa Montalvo tonight despite heavy wind and rain, and enjoyed the impressive light installations after a nice dinner.

Friday, January 04, 2019

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Food and Scenery around Big Sur

Rocky Point Restaurant remains a family favorite.

We did take photos at Bixby Creek Bridge, but I like this view, too.

We went as far south as Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and paid McWay Falls a visit.

At the end of the day we watched dolphins and seals play in the waves, and enjoyed the sunset from a turnout just south of Grimes Point.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Murrbahn: Layout Design from prototype track plans Gaildorf/West (5)

Quelle: Staatsarchiv Ludwigsburg (PL 723 Bü 55). Used with permission.

The north end of the freight area is dominated by several wood storage and loading areas operated by Gebr Closs. A short Internet search did not reveal any information about this company.
A set of regular and double-slip turnouts allows for run-around moves in the freight area. As the single track main line leaves the station area it crosses a small access road at grade.

I simplified the turnout arrangement in the freight area and moved the turnouts further north to gain as much space as possible for car storage. I will model the wood loading ramp and facilities at the north end of the tracks.

On the main tracks I flipped the sequence of the turnouts to tracks 1 and 3 in order to avoid an S-curve coning out of the top of the helix. The railroad crossing will be modeled just to the right of the yellow area and the street will curve away to the wall.

This concludes the series of articles about how I turned a prototype track plan into a compressed representation of reality using various techniques to retain the general look and feel of the prototype location and most operational possibilities, but do it in 30% of the length. Of course I lost some prototype fidelity along the way, but I'm quite happy to find that I can achieve the operational needs I was after within the space I have available for this station. This track plan uses readily available commercial turnouts and track, so I will be able to build this rather quickly and ensure that it delivers on my expectations without going in that deep.