Tetter's Layout Progress and Other Pics.

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by tetters, Feb 3, 2007.

  1. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I would love to use flex track as a compromise, however I've already glued down all the ties. Thus...I'd never get the flex track level.

    I'm ok really. I just have a work bench full of "to-do's" and need to focus on one item at a time. I caught myself going from installing the ground throws to wiring up LED's to my locos and back again last night. I need to focus on track work for now, then worry about tweaking the locos and frieght inventory later. Plus getting my Power Cab in the mail yesterday was a HUGE distraction. When I get home tonight, I'm going to put it back in the box and not look at it until I am ready to install it.

    So going over this in my head.
    1) Install and wire ground throws to west t.o.'s.
    2) Install bus wires for layout.

    If I can get this all sorted out by the end of the week, I'm laughing.
  2. Hi Shane,

    I've been watching this thread with great interest, because you are going down a road that I will shortly be following (although on a smaller scale to start with. Still HO, but just not as much of it. Heh.)

    I got a package in the mail today from Fast Tracks. (Actually, two packages. One was rail.) Inside was a nice new shiny #5 turnout jig with all the accessories. I caressed and fondled it for a little while, then with a sigh I put it away for now. I've still got some prep work to do on the 4x6 layout bench before I can start in on the fun stuff. Tracklaying.

    I've been taking photos along the way, and will be starting a thread of my own soon. Still trying to come up with a road name for this little freelanced empire of mine. I'll get into that a bit more later.

    Keep the thoughts positive, and the progress will happen!

    Looking forward to seeing more,
  3. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Thanks for the comments Jim. Don't be afraid to post up some more.

    Quick progress update.

    I have "wired" and installed three of the five turnouts needed for the west yard ladder. It's slow going because I'm marking where I want the feeder wires to be on the turnout and the road bed, then pre-soldering my feeders to the under side of the rail to completely hide the connection, then I drill the holes required. I fish the five feeder wires including a wire to power the frog through the roadbed. A couple of times, I've moved the hole over a tie to position it better because after soldering it in place it may not be in the exact position I wanted it. I solder the frog wire to the middle contact on ground throw, then wrap and solder all rail feeders to the bus wires. As I'm sure you all know it helps to pre-tin all of the wires first. That way it just takes a couple of seconds to solder together the parts and I don't have to sit there, hold the iron, solder, and wire all at once.

    Actually come to think of it...I should probably use a bigger drill bit as I'm trying to keep the holes as small as possible! The wires fit in them pretty snug... I don't know why when I could probably get away with it??? So typical of me making things harder then they should be. LOL!

    So far so good. I've actually been shoving a couple of tank cars through what I have laid down so far and it's pretty smooth. Some tweaking is required, but otherwise I'm feeling pretty good.
  4. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!


    Almost there!


    I've laid out the west yard ladder and wired up most of it! I haven't finished spiking it down yet and have to finish making a few connections on the underside, however peliminary testing is very promising. You'll have to excuse the mess...I've been a little busy.


    The connections are going to be sealed with Plasti-Dip. I've used the product on low voltage electrical connections before and it works great. Seals the connection right up.

    Tomorrow I'll finish the wiring, "completely" spike down the turnouts, except at the ends, and cut the gaps for the frog points.

    Then I can try some "live" testing! :twisted:
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Tetters, I am glad your making such good progress. That is really starting to look like a railroad now:thumb:

  6. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Allow me a moment to indulge. After my adventures with my wiring debacle ( You can read all about it here...http://forum.zealot.com/t154621/ )

    I decided that I needed take some photos of my success. Seriously...you really put your blood, sweat and tears into this hobby some days don't you? If some of the rails don't look centered on the ties its because I haven't completed spiked everthing down yet. So don't fret.

    You will also notice by the following pictures that I went through the trouble of cleaning up just for you fine folks! :p :mrgreen:

    First up. Starting at the bottom turnout of the ladder heading West.


    Moving on up at the restricted yard speed of 10 kph :twisted: to the next t.o.


    Through the dasterdly third t.o. where the trouble began.


    Creeping out of the yard of the via a left hand t.o. and then onto the first # 6 curved t.o.



    And then...we're done!


    Good night!

  7. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    lookin good!

  8. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Nice work, Shane, and congratulations on getting the switches in and the electrical snafu cleared up. I bet you'll be havin' sweet dreams tonight. ;):-D

  9. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    Lookin’ good :thumb::thumb:. Glad you found the problem and can go on now :wave:.
  10. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    In retrospect. As frustrating as this was it could have been worse. I could have gone and laid down all the turnouts first and then wired them up only to have run into the problem. Can you imagine? This was only five. I still have an additional nine more to lay down and wire up.

    If I learned one thing from this is that I will be testing each connection as I go. Dropping feeders one at a time, connecting each one to the bus wires one at a time, so that way if a short occurs, I'll know exactly where to look. Looking forward now to running the bus lines for the layout from end to end and then doing some ballasting on the straight sections.
  11. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Your work looks great! Thanks for sharing with us, and keep up the good work. Also, I'm glad you found the shorting problem.
  12. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Thanks guys!

    Well, I've been working my tail off here. The yard is finally starting to take shape. Yet, some how...something is missing???


    But of course! :mrgreen:



  13. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Wha-a-a-t!!! No golden spike? :p:-D:-D
    Nice to see the trains finally rollin', though, :thumb::thumb: and the track looks good.

  14. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I tell ya what. When I finally shove in my last spike. You'll be the first to know. :p

    Actually. I must confess, when I was spreading the ballast, I literally dumped on the ties and spread it out a-la grader style with a 6 metal inch ruler. It's how I got the depth so uniform. I did a ton of ballasting over the last few days. I put down all the ballast for the yard & engine service facilities. I went through an entire 32 oz shaker of woodland scenics fine grade ballast. Thanks to your fine tutorial it turned out really good. There's still some touch-ups and low spots which I will take of later. I still need to paint the PC ties on the turnouts before I ballast them.

    Still lots to do.
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Uh, not to be picky but I think there some rail missing? Seriously, I am glad your making such good progress now. It's really starting to take shape.

  16. puddlejumper

    puddlejumper Member

    Just found this thread and all I can say is :eek: WOW :eek: I am impressed and left in a state of AWE. Nice work, I will be following this thread!:thumb:

  17. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Mistakes...repairs and more shorts.

    Sorry no pictures today. However I can give a quick update.

    Last night I spent most of it prepping and installing another C.I. ground throw. Man those things take forever to set up, especially if you want good alignment and it to throw the t.o. the points properly. Coming back to it this morning, I may pull it off and do it again though. It's just not pulling the switch points adequately enough for my tastes in one directon. Besides I may be picking up some Tortoise Machines in the near future and it's one turnout close to the back that is going to get one anyways.

    In other news...I've been drilling holes using a pin vice into the throw bars to hook up the ground throws as well. Well last night I thought I'd try a power drill and well...it wasn't pretty. I ended up replacing the throwbar as I made a mess of it. I was careful too! Honest. At least I found out that replacing a a throw bar on the layout is not too hard to do...just takes up some time that's all.

    I also spent time trouble shooting a short again. However, taking my own advice I'm hooking up the turnouts one at a time and checking each connection as I go. I'm convinced that after catching a couple of these now, its always the gaps in the copper cladding on the PC ties. Even a teenie tiny thread of copper is enough to short out the entire layout! Such is the cost of building from scratch I guess. However the reward I'm getting by seeing a pile of bits and parts turn into some fairly decent looking and (keyword word here) operating trackwork is pretty nifty.

    I've only been spiking every 10th tie so far except at joints where I've been driving in three spikes on each side of the joint plus a Peco rail joiner cut in half. Call it insurance of sorts. I will go back and spike every fifth tie though.

    I have three more turnouts to install and then I'll have completed the east yard ladder and have connected all five major track lengths end to end plus a small caboose track and then one more turnout for the engine facilities. It's going to take me at least a few more days to complete. I'll post pictures when they're done.
  18. Hi Shane,

    I started constructing some turnouts this past weekend. Fun! But first, I prepared enough PC ties in advance to do all 15 turnouts my little layout will require. While doing so, it struck me that exactly what you described above could be a problem when cutting the gaps. So, I hauled out my multi-meter and checked the resistance across each gap, ensuring it was at infinity. You guessed it, I found several that had not been properly or completely gapped. I'm glad I found them now. And, after finishing the construction of a turnout, I again used the multi-meter to check that all the rails, frogs and points where properly isolated. Again, I found one problem and quickly traced it to a frog gap that had speck of metal still stuck in it from when I cut the gap. Quickly fixed.

    Here's a pic of my first two turnouts, built with a FastTracks jig.


  19. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Those look excellent Jim! Nicely done sir!

    Better then my first one turned out (snikers...turned out...turn out get it?!?) although it still worked fairly well...it just looked kinda sloppy. What did you use to cut the gaps. I never did pick up a jewelers saw, so I've been using my rotary tool. I figure if they really start to bother me I'll fill them with styrene and paint them to blend in with the rail.

    The only other suggestion or advice based on my experience is when you start trimming the rails to fit on the track work. Leave the frog rails longer then the stock rails. I find it's easier to keep the stock rails roughly an 1/2 inch shorter instead of trying to get at a shorter frog rail with the rail cutters (if they are being used properly) if I need to. A little less cumbersome.

    Try testing this out, you'll see what I mean.

    I also found my self grabbing the nearest set of trucks and sending them careening through each turnout, sometimes at such velocity they flew off the work bench and on to the floor. LOL!

    Once again good work. Looking forward to see more from you as well.
  20. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Some incredible workmanship here. I've always laid my turnouts in place spiked with all wood ties. Filled the frog and guardrails with solder and then cut the flangeways out so imperfect filing didn't matter so much. However, the obvious and beautiful success you'all are having with the Fast Tracks is becoming very tempting.

    A slightly different approach by some other modelers I know is to remove all the copper from the PCB ties except at the solder points for the rails. The base material is easier to scratch (for wood grain) and paint than the copper layer. And gaps being bridged by tiny slivers of metal is far less likely. Usually, a Dremel tool is used to grind away the copper where it isn't needed.

    Just a thought.

Share This Page