Saturday, September 14, 2019

Untergroeningen: Connecting to the Welztalbahn (4)

I've started testing the track work in Untergroeningen with rolling stock that I know is sensitive to non-ideal track, and borderline with regard to norms. Switching different kinds of cars helped with finding and partially resolving dead spots and shorts. The older Maerklin stock is really good at finding pukos that I put too close to the edge of the rail.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Untergroeningen: Shadow Box

Untergroeningen will be located in the garage, at least for the time being. So I need a dust cover that is reasonably tight, easy to remove, reasonably stable, and easy to store. While thinking about this I realized I could just build a shadow box for the layout and close up the front, when it is not in use.

The plan above shows the fairly standard design. It was important to me to make the box easy to disassemble, so just like with the modules I use bolts and wing nuts. No tools needed. In addition, the support structure cannot protrude more than 1 inch in the rear because of clearance issues behind the modules.

Segment 1 became the prototype.

I need a bigger workbench, the modules don't fit... Or maybe store less crap on the top of the workbench. Installing the backdrop.

Test fit all the pieces before glueing.

With the table saw I made 45 degree angle pieces from 3/4" plywood.

That's where the LED strips go.

Testing in the garage.

I need two rows of LEDs to get sufficient brightness. Warm-white by itself feels too much like sunset, cool-white by itself is too harsh, but the combination of one each is just right.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Untergroeningen: Turnout Control

Untergroeningen only has hand-thrown turnouts. I was considering to replicate this in my rendition and use turnout levels like the small ones from Caboose Industries. Feasible, but turnout motors are more convenient, so I installed Tortoise motors in all three segments of the station. No computer control is planned for this module, so the turnout motors are controlled with regular DPDT-switches, thus at least somewhat replicating the local control theme. The switches need to be installed in the module side, and can't stick out of the side of the module. This is where 3/4" sides come in handy, too. What I didn't quite settle on was how much space to leave around the switch, so I made a test with a scrap piece of plywood, and quickly settled on the 1 1/2" diameter hole. The family agreed.

After carefully measuring the center points, drilling the holes freehand is fun and goes quickly.

Next I glued scrap pieces of hardboard behind the holes and fixed up the paint. Once that dried, drill holes, install the switches, and a couple hours later everything is wired up. 

Segment 1 done. Two more to go, but first I need to prototype something else.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Untergroeningen: Connecting to the Welztalbahn (3)

Tonight the first train ran under its own power from the Welztalbahn train room to Untergroeningen on the modular extension. I added a 4th power district and moved the existing PSXs to a larger mounting board.

Of course I took a short video to celebrate the occasion of the first train entering the module under its own power.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Dave Parks' Cumberland West - Williams Street

STKX is accelerating eastbound out of Cumberland on the X-Main while the Williams Street switcher is waiting for its next assignment
For tonight's ops session on the B&O I'm back at Williams Street Yard, which can be a very messy assignment if the Yardmaster is not careful with staging equipment for trains to be switched in Cumberland station. Now that I have some experience running this yard, I knew what to do, and even had some spare time towards the end of the session to take photos.

View over the river track with Williams St on the left across the main line. Bolt & Forge has received some scrap gondolas on track that still needs to be built.
Dave has several nice scenes in Cumberland, including these guys preparing for a furniture delivery.


For my commute this morning, I left the house at 6:20am, arrived at work at 7:09am with average fuel consumption of barely a quarter gallon for the 23 miles, i.e. 93 miles per gallon.

It's amazing how slow-flowing traffic can help with fuel efficiency.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Untergroeningen: Connecting to the Welztalbahn (2)

Here is the first car to travel through the wall from the Welztalbahn to Untergroeningen.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Untergroeningen: Connecting to the Welztalbahn

While the Untergroeningen module is designed for the future Murrbahn project, I have made plans to use it in phase 1 of the Welztalbahn layout extension project as a through station, just like the prototype station was originally designed.

The first step is to go through the wall to the layout room to connect with the new turnout I installed in April.

I used some flextrack to check alignment and get an idea about clearances. Just as planned, the track barely misses the storage cabinet on the right.

Here's the view from inside the layout room.

I used cardboard to create a template for cutting the track base board. I paid extra attention to align the edge that needs to be perfectly square and straight with the pre-cut edge of the plywood board and cut the rest with a jig saw.

I fiddled for quite a while with the base board to get a good fit both inside the wall and with the Untergroeningen module.

It took a few attempts to get things to line up, while avoiding a tight radius curve. Once I was happy I marked the curve and glued down some Homabed.

So far, so good. Next up is final leveling of the module, aligned with the Welztalbahn, and installation of the connecting track, followed by wiring Untergroeningen to the Welztalbahn.