Woohoo! Finally laying track!

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Gary S., Mar 5, 2007.

  1. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Spent all weekend working on the layout, am finally putting some track down. The past couple of months were spent building my mechanical turn-out controllers and uncoupling electromagnets. Cutting through the foam and plywood for these items is fairly easy. Everything is going well, the pre-built stuff makes it go quickly. Also, the fact that my bus wires are already installed under the shelves is a plus, makes it easy and quick to get the track wired up. Anyway, I'm pretty excited about the whole thing.

    I know, this thread is worthless without pictures. Will get some taken and posted later this week.

    WOOHOO! Now I'm making some REAL progress!
  2. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    And a question:

    HO scale - approximately how many feet of track will a 32 oz bottle of woodland scenics fine ballast do? Any ideas? This is with regular HO scale cork roadbed and Atlas Code 83 flextrack.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Great news!

    Looking forward to pictures...

  4. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    It's been about a year and a half since I became interested in trains again. October of 2005 was my first post here at the Gauge. Have done tons of research, reading, got the shelving/benchwork done, obtained rolling stock, etc... but it is REALLY GREAT to finally see something coming from all this.

    :) :) :) :) :) :)
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Congrats, Gary. Now you can start to see the results of all that tinkering and hard work you did !
    P. S. Never used the stuff, so I can't help with that.
  6. berraf

    berraf Member

    I'm so interested in your manual turnout control and hope to see some pictures real soon. Please :)
  7. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I'll make a point to get some photos tonight. I may get them posted tonight, if not, it will be Wednesday afternoon. But, I promise I will get some photos of the turn-out controls and everything else too.
  8. Gary, I remember the feeling ! Enjoy, but also realize one's layout is really never done. That's another enjoyment also, re-doing, adding to & improving it. As for the ballasting question, I can't help much. I use code 100, and since code 83 ties are thicker, you will use more ballast than I. Good luck and we all look forward to progress pictures. Joe
  9. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    My main focus right now is to have a layout where I can run operations with car cards and waybills. That is my main focus. Once the layout is done, it is done :rolleyes: . What I see myself doing once the basic layout and trackwork is done is: 1. operating the railroad 2. weathering and detailing rolling stock and locomotives. 3. weathering and detailing my structures.

    So on that note, I hope to have the trackwork and scenery and associated equipment all completed by the end of 2007. After that, my hobby time will be spent on the items mentioned above.

    I do realize that it may not work out as planned....
  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think I would lay the track and operate the layout for a while without ballast or scenery to see how well the track plan works, and where you might want to make changes before putting the ballast down and doing permanent scenery. The less that you have to tear up to relocate track or make changes the better. Do your ballast and scenery after you are satisfied with the operation of the design.
  11. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Blessed are the flexible, for they shall bend and not break!

    And no, this thread is not worthless without photos. Yes, we are becoming a culture even more dependant on the visual for stimulus, but the words are still necessary, useful and even helpful at times. There may come a day when someone writes, "I know this thread is worthless without video..."
  12. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I agree. What I am going to do is stock up on ballast a little bit each month instead of buying it all at once. The wifey seems to take "many small credit card purchases" better than a few "lump sum" purchases.;)

    And I agree with this too. I am enjoying the discussion today.:) Thanks!
  13. berraf

    berraf Member

    To me it seems like you have a wife worth to take good care off :)
    And I do agree to the statement to take some time just driving the trains and see how good the layout works in real life. Go for it and keep us up to date :thumb:
  14. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Here's a couple of shots of the track I have down so far. Please excuse the mess!

    Attached Files:

  15. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Here is an uncoupling magnet and controls. The wiring is messy at the moment. I'll get it cleaned up and cut to proper length later. If anyone has any questions, I can take more pics and give details. I'll also take some pics of the actual installation process, later.

    Attached Files:

  16. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    And some pics of the turn-out controllers. These are simply a 3-way electrical switch like controls the lights in your house. They are mounted to an aluminum bracket which is used to attach the switch to the underside of the layout. There is an eyelet attached to the toggle part of the switch. This will be connected to a threaded rod which will extend out the front of the facia, and will have a knob on it. Pushing and pulling the knob will change the turn-out direction. There is a "music wire" going up through the benchwork which moves the turn-out. The wire is enclosed in a plastic tube. I can give more detailed pics and instructions if anyone wants to vbuild some of these.

    Attached Files:

  17. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member


    Looks like you left a roll of solder or wire on the outlet...just in case you're wondering where that got to...I once did that and couldn't find it for months! Had to go to Radio Shack and buy more in order to keep working on the wiring.

    Outstanding work, btw. I especially like the grain elevator complex set at an angle to the backdrop and through track. Very nice.

    And a very creative solution to the turnout problem. I'll be interested in seeing them when completed with the threaded rod, etc.
  18. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I was wondering where the solder was!

    I'm anxious to make further progress. As soon as I get the turn-out controls working with the rods and such, I'll post more pics. Right now, I am in the middle of a "crazy busy" week at work, so looks like Saturday evening/Sunday before I get a chance to do any more work on the layout.

    The "3-way" switches I am using are more expensive than a regular single-pole wall switch, but the 3-ways allow me to power some indicator LEDs for the facia. Right now, I am going to go with unpowered frogs on the turn-outs. In my preliminary experiments, my locos didn't have any problem with them being unpowered. If it was desired, the 3-way switch could be used to power the frog, but not sure if you could put LED indicators to work with that.

    I am fully confident that this whole affair is going to ROCK the house!:thumb:
  19. Chaparral

    Chaparral Member

    Did I miss something

    What are red wires for?
    I assume the toggles are a manual method to move turnouts-right?
  20. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    The red wire from the switches is some 4-conductor cable that will be used to power some LEDs on the facia. These will show the direction that each turn-out is routed to.

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