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A Start To Beacon Hill

I'm using conventional cardboard webbing with a plaster hardshell for this.  Why - when foam would lend itself very well?  Because I have access to free cardboard and can easily rip strips down on my bandsaw.  Plaster of Paris is relatively inexpensive as are paper towels.  Anyway, I used my hot glue gun to tack the cardboard strips up to the wall.  Someday I'll want this to come down easily with nothing to patch.  I don't know if the hot glue will withstand the changes in weather and humidity on this wall, but once the plaster hardshell is dry, it shouldn't matter.  The sides of this mountain are very sheer, so I'll have to use up some of my inventory of rock faces I have from my previous layout.  I may want to experiment with covering a part of it with polyfil.  I don't know if I can make this look plausible, but hopefully I can make it look interesting.  Once this back wall is completed, I shouldn't really have to access it again for a long, long time - I HOPE!  And once it's done, I'll continue with this scene down to the front fascia - transitioning from the previous geography to this.

I ran out of plaster, so that's all for tonight and a trip tomorrow.

Log Loader Mountain Completed

For the most part, Log Loader Mountain is now completed.  The ballast I used is what I harvest and screen down locally.  It is about G gauge, I believe.  However, it is exactly what I want for my over-sized track and ties.  Up next will be to start work on an adjoining vista that I think I will call Billboard Mountain, since it will feature a Whistling Billboard on a much higher mountain.

Here is another pic of the other side.  I added a billboard that is a memorable event for me.

Benchwork with Track Subroadbed Completed!

I have all of my benchwork and track subroadbed completed.  It looks like a lot of track.  When the scenery is done, it will not look quite that way, because the subroadbed is wider than necessary and the scenery will hide a lot of it.  I made the subroadbed wide to allow me to plot the most gentle curves that I could around it.  There are a few more deck bridges to make.  The bridges that I have in now do a lot to hide the "X" that the ascending and descending grades would make where they meet.  Mountains on either side of them with tunnels for the trains will do more.  You can get a better sense of the layout by going back a post to the pics of the other parts and mentally connecting them, or by going all the way back to my trackplan, which I deviated from a little.  There are only 3 switches on this whole layout!  The peninsula shown here will have a huge mountain chain, concealing a Log Loader.  Those early Flyer Log Loaders were out of scale.  You won't see mine until you are right there.  On the other peninsula (shown in a previous blog) will be an Amish farm community.  The logs will get off-loaded there and probably lumber, cattle and barrels of cider will get picked up.  Those items will be off-loaded on-the-fly, so to speak along the mainline at various points.  There will be a train station and wayside stations around the layout.  A Talking Station will be on the upper level, along the back wall - as part of a strip town.  Next up will be to actually place those and other accessories and buildings.

My Track Power Plans

My layout will be retro-style; all vintage and all Flyer.  I will however, modify the original vintage sectional track to suit.  More on that later.  Right now, I would like to establish what my plan is to power up the track.  Many people have suggested I go to either DCC or some version of TMCC.  No thanks.  Been there and done that.  Not this time.  Not on this layout.  I have - by process of elimination - determined that I will be using an "old-school" Flyer system.  I will use 15B transformers, one per block to control this layout.  The 15B's will be scattered around the layout at convenient locations to control that block.  When I want to exercise local control over a train, I'll simply walk over to the block where the train will be and use that transformer.  This will minimize the load on the transformers as the train will get passed off to a "fresh" transformer when it enters a new block.  I'll want to invent some kind of block control to keep two or more trains from rear-ending each other at the worse.  I also don't want a transformer struggling to power two trains in the same block.    Simple.  Brilliant.  Effective.


Per special request, I am elaborating on the above.  I believe the above narrative explains my block system and power requirements.  One thing that should be noted is that I am operating all original vintage pieces, with no new modern electronics of any kind to replace such things as the original open-frame motor or mechanical reverse unit.  I have been advised that - even with the transformers in phase and the throttles set identically - there will be a very brief voltage spike as the loco pick-up wheels cross the insulated rail gap, each side of the gap powered up by a different transformer.  I see no problem when running original vintage pieces.  However, that voltage spike may be enough to fry circuit boards on electronic reverse units and/or embedded computer chips - such as DCC control.  So don't follow my power- up plan under those circumstances!

As far as wiring the layout, it is simple.  I run a continuous and unbroken base post wire and all base post rails are connected to it.  Those rails do not have any insulated gaps, unless I will use a 5-digit track trip or a semaphore block.  Each variable post on each transformer controls a separate block.  So, those wires only go from the variable post of each transformer to just the section, or block that it controls.

Sometimes I will want to dedicate a transformer to a certain accessory or group of accessories.  If those accessories do not connect to the track in any way - accessories such as the Barrel Loader or Sawmill, then I will not connect the base post common with the other transformers.  Same with a light circuit.  I'll use one or more dedicated transformers for a separate circuit that does not connect to the track power circuit in any way.  Obviously, those accessories that DO connect to the track in some way - such as the Guilford Station or Cattle Mooooover - will get powered up by a transformer that is in phase with the track transformers and it will have it's base post common with all track transformers.

I can't use Signal Bridges because the Gilbert Factory never made them.  I could use their block signals, but try to find one and if you do, try to afford it!  I may use the standard Semaphore, with pressure trips to avoid a rear-end, but since I'll only be running two trains at a time, through 8 long blocks on my shelf layout in my  20X40 train room, I think a rear-end is a little remote anyway.

OBTW, I use 14 gauge wire for the track bus wires to/from the transformers and 18 gauge drop-down feeder wires every 3 feet or so.

That's about all I can think of right now.  If anyone has any further questions or needs clarification on anything above, please don't hesitate to contact me - either through this blog or one of the four lists I belong to.