June 28, 2011

SVL Extension: Short Hiatus

Just wanted to let you all know that the Southview Lines extension is on a short hiatus.  First, it is just too darned HOT in the garage to do any work and second, I’m focusing my attention (and spare time) to finding a new job.  I can’t really buy anything for the railroad if I don’t have any money coming in.

I should be back at it soon so please, Stay Tuned.

March 1, 2011

SVL Extension: Manual Turnout Controls

First of all, I apologize for the long delay between posts. A lot has been going on lately and I haven't been able to spend much time on the trains.

As far as progress on the extension goes, I have been installing my manual turnout controls. The Atlas Code 55 turnouts do not provide any means to throw the turnout. Some people use the Caboose Industries ground throws but I think they are way oversized. I decided to use minature slide switches as I did on the rest of the layout. By using these switches, I can control the direction of the points and route power to the frog at the same time.

The slide switches I used were purchased from Jameco Electronics. They are listed
here. These switches have a throw (distance that the handle moves) about the same as the movement of the points on the turnouts. This is important as you don't have to compensate by bending a Z shape in the linkage wire.

Here is the method I use to install them.

1. Prepare the slide switch by drilling a .020 hole in the side of the handle. The wire that I am using is .015. Then, solder three power wires to the slide switch contacts. The two outside wires will go to the track and the middle wire will attach to the little loop on the side of the turnout. I soldered a separate wire to the loop on the turnout and joined it to the middle wire coming from the slide switch under the layout. It will help if you establish a color code system for your wiring and stick to it.

2. Cut back the throwbar on the turnout to roughly half it's length.

3. Make a hole in the foam next to the turnout. The hole should go all the way through the foam so you can feed the wires through and connect them under the layout.

4. Feed the power wires through the hole and insert your slide switch. Apply silicone sealant around the slide switch and use two small pieces of cork roadbed to sandwich the switch and hold it in place. Let the sealant dry.

5. Drill a new hole in the throwbar for your actuating wire.

6. Bend the .015 wire into a C shape with one leg pointing down. Measure this carefully as the width of the C needs to be the exact distance from the middle of the slide switch handle to the new hole that you drilled in the throwbar.

7. Insert the .015 wire into the slide switch handle and then into the throwbar hole. I also added a piece of wire to lock the linkage wire in place. It is made by bending a short piece of .015 wire in half and inserting it in the cork over the linkage wire and the switchstand tie. See the photos.

8. Hook up your power wires under the layout and you are done. I use a power bus under the layout so I am attaching to that.

November 29, 2010

SVL Extension: Feeder Wires

It has been a while since I last posted an update. I have still been working on the extension here and there. I have now completed the feeder wires for all of the new trackwork. These are 20 guage solid wire that I solder to the web of the rail up top and solder to the bus wires underneath. Soldering to the web can be tricky so you have to work fast to avoid melting any ties. I make sure that I drop feeder wires at least every 3 feet or to each piece of rail if between turnouts. I maintain a color code system with the wires - red & black so I know exactly which wire is which as I solder them to the bus wires.

That's it for now. I will make sure the next update is not so long in coming.

October 26, 2010

SVL Extension: Golden Spike Laid!!

The day has come and the golden spike has been laid on the new extension. I have finished the trackwork for the extension and have completed the connection to the existing layout.

Here is where the tracks will cross a city street using 3 plate girder bridges. I plan to scratch build these bridges so in preparation for that, I cut bases for the bridges out of .60 styrene sheet. These will be ballasted bridges so the base will not be seen in the finished product. I will build abutments for each end and then build the plate girders which will rest on top of the bases. Until then, I am using a piece of foam to support the crossings. The track is attached to the bases using the same adhesive caulk that I used elsewhere.

I am currently working on feeder wires and turnout control. Then, the trackwork needs to be tested with a few trains. But maybe not necessarily in that order.

October 20, 2010

SVL Extension: Trackwork Continues...

I am continuing to lay track on the new extension. I have worked my way around to the other side of the pennisula and laid all track on that side. I also replaced the track that was removed from the existing portion and laid new track following the new design.

The only portion that is left is where the old joins the new. Here, I have four tracks that are going to cross a city street. I will plan to have plate girder bridges here. More on this later.

October 11, 2010

SVL Extension: Track Laying Begins

Track laying has begun. I was able to get some of the projects completed around the house and steal enough time on the railroad to start laying track.

If you are wondering, I am using Atlas Code 55 flex track and Atlas Code 55 No.5 turnouts. I chose the number 5 turnouts since this extension is depicting a congested industrial area and because I had a bunch of them available.

I use clear adhesive caulk to secure my track. After cutting and filing the ends of the flex to fit, I put down a bead of the caulk on top of the cork. Then, I smooth it out with a scrap piece of cork. I take a few minutes to align the track by eye while the caulk is still wet. Then, the track is pressed down into the caulk and held in place by push pins until the caulk sets (about 30-45 minutes).

Note: I do not put adhesive under the turnouts at all. They are allowed to float and are held in place by the adjacent trackwork. This makes it a little easier for me to remove them later if needed for replacement or maintenance.

I have finished the trackwork on one side of the extension and I am now working on the other side. Here's a few pictures of what I have completed.

September 28, 2010

SVL Extension: Odds and Ends

Well the hot weather finally broke here in Texas. With the cooler temperatures, I have been taking care of some honey-dos around the house that I had been putting off. I didn't get to devote as much time to the layout as I wanted but I did manage to do a few things.

I did some more track demo in the area where the new extension will join the existing layout. I needed to remove some turnouts and make a few track adjustments that will fit the new plan. Here is that area ready for new track to be laid.

I also was able to paint the backdrop the sky color.

Finally, I fixed a couple of the fascia cleats that were a little twisted.

If I can get those darned house projects out of the way, I can enjoy this cool weather working on the railroad. More to come.