My N Gauge shunting plank (lots of pics)

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by wayerst, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. wayerst

    wayerst New Member

    Here's my previous layout, pre feline-destruction.


    And my first plan (as you can see, I've moved forward 25 years or so)

    I wanted to model US practice. So we've got a single track mainline, with a in/out loop, a servicing area, yard lead and three tracks for marshalling. Here's the plan with car lengths after much thinking:

    Trains come in from right to left on the mainline (or vice versa) and pull into the loop. Prior to this the yard shunter whizzes out onto the mainline to back onto the recently arrived freight and pulls it into them into the yard lead and shunts them away into their proper tracks. While this is happening, the mainline loco is serviced in the yellow area (refuelling and sanding, and a rip-track). Now an inglenook game is played with the yard shunter and the wagons in the yard, which are then shunted out into the loop for the mainline loco to pick up and power off to it's next destination!

    A mockup of roughly how it should look:

    Laying the track:

    Track laid:

    Being glued, with my revolutionary holding-down-the-track techniques:

    I actually divided the layout into two power districts, (got a gaugemaster dual controller) so if I expanded I could have the mainline hooked up to the extension and shunt the yard independantly:

    I used a DPDT switch to set whether the yard was controlled by the same controller as the mainline or the #2 dial:

    My great idea for connecting power to the layout:

    And finally wired up and soldered in:

    All good so far:

    The first shunt is successful!

    I used bumper grey spray from an auto-store to paint the track and the ties in one fell swoop:

    In the mid-west it was common to ballast the mainlines with granite, but the sidings would be done with anything - in this case, cinders:

    You want HOW much for a 'scenic shaker' ?

    After masking the track I went to work with the scenic shakers and some 'clumps' from woodland scenics:

    And after much trial and error with the hobbytak I got some trees on the layout, it's starting to take shape:

    Does it look pants? or does it look good?

    A couple of scratchbuilt (and in the case of the waiting office, a few mm out of scale) buildings:

    And the final result as it was for about an hour before the cats ripped all of the scenics to shreds:

    It's now sitting on my shelf in the junk room (which is thankfully a little more clear and clean than the above photos show it as) looking rather forlorn. I think I should give the electronics a once-over (cats also managed to get underneath and start swinging) and exercise the ol' SD9 on the kato unitrack I've got. I'm thinking that the warehouses with a blue backscene would enhance it greatly, also a few more people wouldn't hurt! All that's in the future though, for the moment I can't help but feel incredibly frustrated and angry whenever I look at it...
  2. nscale2006

    nscale2006 New Member

    Very enjoyable series of pictures, just loved the transformation from a flat nothing to an eye catching layout, thanks for sharing it with us.
  3. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    That’s too bad. I can really understand your frustration. I am glad, our cat is frightened by my trains and wont’ get close to my layout. Welcome to the Gauge anyway.
  4. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    I'm a bit afraid our cats would be destructive as well. Perhaps you could throw a sheet over the whole thing when not in use?

    It looks (looked?) really good! Have you considered any elevation changes in there? Might add something to the look of it.
  5. wayerst

    wayerst New Member

    [FONT=Helvetica, Arial]I'd just left it on a desk infront of my window so I could cook some dinner for the other half, come back and BAM! :(

    Anyway, any ideas about cleaning the inside edges of points?

    [/FONT][FONT=Helvetica, Arial]I powered it up and much to my surprise, worked fine where the cables where directly connected, but thanks to the general muck and grime in my junk room (and lots of air-born plaster dust and paint particles) the engines stall going over any switches as soon as the leading trunk passes over the point blades.

    [/FONT][FONT=Helvetica, Arial] I'm guessing mineral spirits on a tissue that's bent over the end of a flat-head screwdriver?

    My main concern with constructing it was to finish my first real layout after the tail chaser I had as a kid. I'm planning (in the long term) to tweak it a bit once it's back in a workable shape whenever..
  6. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    A great effort that should be easy to rescue:thumb: Try fine emery cloth between the points and a light oil like Wahl Clipper oil. As for the cat...

    Attached Files:

  7. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Nice sequence of progress photo's. Looks great. Despite the cat.
  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    We've had to exclude one of the cats from the train room. He likes to chew on paper and cardboard. A previous cat went for anything that stuck up -- loading gauges, signals, chimneys, trees. One long-term project is to convert the wire cat cage into something that looks like a signal box.
  9. wayerst

    wayerst New Member


    The 'Junk' room downstairs is still pretty messy, but much better than it was in the pictures above. Once I've gotten rid of a few cupboards and things it should be time to repaint the walls and convert it into a den of some sorts, where my trains can run free without any interference from the cats!

    Anyway, I managed to get a few more pics today. A bit disheartening because the locos stall going over any switches, but some cleaning with mineral spirits is sorting that out, it's just a lengthy process...


    Here's a picture of my custom-painted BN SD7, soon to be redone alot more smoothly and weathered:
  10. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    It took me a minute to notice the irregular color separation, and now I see why you want to redo it... but at first, it just looked like a weathered old engine.
  11. Papa Bear

    Papa Bear Member

    Great pictures, Wayerst! :wave: Here is a thread which may be of interest to you.

    Those work pretty well for small layouts. It takes some extra effort, but it's well worth it. It would probably be impractical to build a cover like that for a large layout - for that, a spare room where you could keep the door shut would be better. Or, you could try Shaygetz's suggestion - the trick would be getting the cat into the carrier in the first place!
  12. wayerst

    wayerst New Member


    Here's a thought about how to make the layout a big more interesting - put a bridge over the far end (as was the original plan before I decided that I was satisfied with the bushy cover) and have the railing leading down on the backscene to suggest an off-ramp. Use a couple of low relief warehouses and some painted onto the backscene to suggest an industrial park. Extend the gravelled area for the station and weather it heavily since we're moving the timescale forward.

    I'm not sure what to do about the area in the front-left - whether to have the back of another warehouse at an angle to kill some of the straight lines, or move the gantry there and put some grounded car bodies and model it as a kind of repair shop area...
  13. COX 47

    COX 47 Member

    Very nice...Lots of switching but not a lot of space I like the lighter colored ballast on the Main just like the real thing....Cox 47
  14. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    Very interesting "Howto" from start to finish. To bad the cat ended the whole story.
    Thanks for sharing your work.
  15. Papa Bear

    Papa Bear Member

    I like the bridge. The layout seems to be recovering nicely from the feline storm. :thumb:

    You could also do a scrapyard. I'm thinking you would want something kind of low-relief in front because you'll need to reach over it from time to time.
  16. wayerst

    wayerst New Member

    Sorry - when I said 'area in the front-left' I meant the front-left of the picture!!! (i.e. near the backscene behind the loco servicing tracks.

    I'm thinking that one will have a sanding tower and the other will have a diesel tank - it'll allow me to spot tankers there for a bit of variety and give some purpose (when a RIP track probably needs a bit more space than that and wouldn't be right where the guys are refuelling!)

    Have built the bridge out of foamcore, just wondering how to 'surface' it so you can't see the different layers...
  17. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I couldn't agree more. If a cat ruined my layout...well...let's just say it wouldn't be pretty.
  18. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    Hey, 2-8-2! Speaking of "your layout" what does it look like today? :confused: Just wondering! :)
  19. wannabe-nscaler

    wannabe-nscaler New Member

    Your inspiration is the rail yard (what's left of it) in Bloomington Illinois. If you check google maps/earth you'll see it was much bigger back in the day. I grew up about a block from it. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them. Keep up the good work!

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