Favourite Photos...

Favourite Photos...
Reading Lines GP35 #3647

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Track Alterations & Terraforming...

So today's mission was to relocate the Hummelstown Crossover from the east to the west of the Track 2 siding turnouts.  
As I was programming the logic for Rutherford & Hummelstown is was obvious that it needed to be moved to allow mainline traffic in both directions to flow better.


I also wanted to separate both crossover turnouts into individual blocks for detection purposes too.  The two track nearest the fascia are in fact both mainlines, the left one is from the centre peninsula (Harrisburg) and the middle track from the north side of the layout (Carlislie Junction) the track on the right (backdrop) can be used as mainline but will mostly be used for switching/storage of the three (3) industries that will sit along the backdrop.

Below is the PanelPro Panel showing the intended route from Carlislie Junction through Rutherford, Hummelstown and onto Manheim Junction from Track 1 (North) via Track 1 (South) and then back agin onto Track 1 (North).



Below the removal of the existing track & turnouts.



Next phase was relocating the crossover, re-installing the Tortoise motors, running the feed wires and aligning and securing the track.  Today I also did a little Terraforming and added a small siding (1200mm/4') along the fascia near Middletown, this will add more storage for the industries that will be along the backdrop.



The extra siding is just two (2) pieces of 90mm x 45/3.5" x 1 3/4" laminated together with a plywood top and then 6mm plaster/drywall.  This adds about 1200mm/4' of extra storage space.

And finally some overview shots from today's session.  Once the wiring for the detection blocks and remaining Tortoise Motors are installed the signal bridge will be moved to the west of the Hummelstown Crossover.





Cheers,

Jas...

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

When things are that old, there is no fixing them...

Over the past three weeks I having busy programming the logic for the layouts signal system into JMRI - Panel Pro and testing it out on the already installed signals on the layout.

To start I called upon our resident guru for Signal Logic - Brendan Dennis, I wanted Brendan to run me through the basics of logic and also how to implement it too.  Brendan suggested that I needed to upgrade to the latest version of JMRI as I was having a few issues installing one section and we wanted to eliminate the issue being something that could be resolved with an update.

This is what caused a small hiccup with progressing forward and also the reason for no posts for a few weeks (with a school holiday vacation in there too) and a halt to the programming.  My +10 year old desktop PC was that old and out of date that I couldn't update to Windows 10 (hardware issue) which was required to run the latest version 8 of Java, which was required for JMRI & Panel Pro...  What a cascading effect!

     

So I began exploring options for replacing the layouts desktop.  It is still running fine on XP with the original hard drive too.  However being so out of date I could barely get onto the internet from it because most of the software & browsers were no longer supported either without upgrading to Windows 10.

I looker at prices for desktops and wasn't really happy with some of the pricing so I researched a little further afield which took me in the direction of looking into laptops.  The idea was based around them being the same price as a desktop and some having better specifications too, the other factor was portability.

It turned out to be a great move, as I now have the ability to do layout programming in the house, well anywhere for that matter.  I am no longer tied to the layout to do any logic, signalling and or detection work.





I have the ability to run both layout monitors, the NCE DCC Command System and the Standalone Digitrax LocoNet too.

Jas...

Friday, 18 August 2017

Hershey Signal Bridge Installed...

This week I finished the second last signal bridge for the layout.  This one is for Hershey and protects the interlocking & Manheim Junction to the south heading towards Rutherford & Sinking Springs.


The bridge protects the main (track1) heading south, and the passing siding (track 2) heading northbound towards Columbia.  The main mast is a triple head, and the passing siding mast in a double head.



This bridge was the first time I used heat shrink tube to feed the wires through and to hide them along the signal bridge.  It actually worked much better than anticipated and looks far better than styrene tube I have used in the past.



The bridge has now been installed and connected to the LocoNet & JMRI Panel.


The double head dwarf signal has also been installed on track 4 that will protect the crossover entrance into track 2 and the interlocking.


One more signal bridge to go...

Jas...

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Athearn - Genesis RDG GP39-2 #3416...

Another locomotive has been added to the RDG fleet this week.  An Athearn - Genesis RDG GP39-2 #3416.



The Athearn unit has had a LokSound - Select Direct decoder with LokSound Cube Speaker (50321) added.  The OEM Athearn board was completely removed and everything hard wired to the Select-Direct.

The Athearn bulbs have also been removed and replaced with 1.63mm Clear - Acrylic Tube for the headlight lenses and had TCS 3mm "Golden White" LED's fitted.



After installing the Select Direct I decided to play around with the LokProgrammer and alter the Function Mapping.  The idea is to get the most common functions mapped so that fit on the first screen of the WiThrottle app.

Of course to test out the functionality of the changes and get used to the features associated with Full Throttle features on the LokSound, I had to do some switching around Reading - Allied Manufacturing...





Having the Full Throttle features along with Manual Notching, Independent Braking and a host of other features has slowed down the switching to a more prototypical speed and added a whole other level to the fun of switching the layout.

Jas...

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Home stretch for Signal Bridges...

This week I started the last couple of Signal Bridges for the layout.  There is only another one or two after this one and we are just about done.  This is again another IHC Plastic Kit that can span upto four tracks.


This bridge is located at Hershey and protects the mainline heading south from Hershey as it passes through the Manheim Junction interlocks, and the Hershey siding heading northbound to Columbia.


The triple head mast is for the mainline, and the double head for the passing siding.  The only difference is the double head cannot display a "Slow Clear", this is overcome by the fact that the double can show a "Restricting" for the siding and beyond.

There will also be a double head dwarf signal that will protect the siding heading southbound just before the crossover.


The next phase for this bridge is to install the clear lenses in the heads and wire in the Tri-Colured LED's and run the wire underneath the layout.

Cheers,

Jas...

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Turning Track Work into Fascia Panels...

This afternoon & evening has been spent trying to get the physical track work design from the layout onto a fascia panel that flows, makes sense and incorporates all the turnouts so that it will function properly...

Below are the segments of track work that needed to be added to the fascia panel for Lancaster Junction.


The portion above only required the back right-handed crossover to be show...


The middle two left handed turnouts joined together were next...


And finally the series left & right handed curved turnouts to form a crossover connecting two mainlines and two passing sidings...

And this is what all of the above looks like when condensed into a fascia panel.  The bigger circles on the lines are the position for the push buttons for the Tortoise machines...


The lighter coloured track (labelled as Track 1) are the mainlines and the darker ones are either passing sidings or storage tracks.

Next step is to laminate and punch out the push button holes then mount...

Jas.

Monday, 3 July 2017

First Friday night - Operating Session...

So last night we had our first Friday night Ops Session. We had six of the group show up for a few hours of giving the layout a good solid workout.


John & Ron used the switch lists  and the others were free to build and switch their own trains. The night was more about testing the layout and seeing how it would handle the numbers of operators.


A few little issues with fascia panels not matching track work which had a few scratching their heads. The layout didn't have any issues with dropping out due to shorts which had been an issue the last few time we operated.
The layout with six operators is about its max, and it needs some work with labelling main vs passing siding and industrial/yard tracks.


The signalling & dispatching didn't end up being used last night as I couldn't get the panel altered & working in time.



Still a great night, and certainly filled in threes hours. Lots of work to do before the next one, in fact it will likely be stretched out for two months as there is a lot to get right & squared away before the next session.

Jas...

Friday, 23 June 2017

New Track Work for the Hershey Plant...

Today I spent the day installing the new track work around the south side of the new Hershey Plant.


When I designed the track work for the plant I had an added benefit that it made both the south & north sides of the layout in this area flow a lot smoother and also added another passing siding and storage track.

Below is the old trackplan of the left and the new on the right.  With the series of three #7 curved turnouts on the south & north of the Hershey main I have the ability to have trains cross from several locations which allows for more passing manoeuvres on either the main or the eastern Hershey storage track.

                   

The track work through the whole south side now flows a lot better too, clearances have been improved and I have also a #8 right hand crossover before the track goes through the backdrop.


The curved turnouts (which are all PECO #7) that are in series together will all be interlocked, Ive also wired each turnout with power for detection too.


The series of three curved turnouts to the south of the Hershey Plant allow for the main from the centre peninsula, the rear wall (left of the backdrop) and to the north to all be interconnected.  This one change will greatly increase the flexibility of operations on the layout.


Once the track work to the north is also altered it will be onto wiring in all the blocks and installing the Tortoise motors.

Jas...

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Hershey Chocolate Factory - New Trackplan..

Hi guys,
Quick update…
 
I’ve been trying to get the Hershey Chocolate Factory onto the layout.  To do it justice I needed a fairly big area and one area that I hadn’t been happy with for some time may have just solved the problem.  
It’s the section that is on the far west wall of the main layout and the plant will take up this whole area...
 

 
It’s not strictly prototypical but its damn close and will be a major scratch build to pull it off.  The best bit is it fits perfectly into the Reading era and works quite well with the layouts switching theme that I'm currently developing. 


I've opened up some of the distances between the buildings of the plant to allow for reach in to uncouple or re-rail rolling stock.  This will still have to be proven once mocked up.
 
I found on the old inter-webs a photo of the prototype for reference too.  This one however is fairly modern as all the rail served sidings are removed.  I will be likely using the one above for track work reference.


 
Cheers,
 
Jas...

Friday, 9 June 2017

York Haven - Signal Bridge installed...

Today I finished off the remainder of the wiring for the triple head mast and installed the signal bridge onto the layout.

This signal bridge protects the main heading south east towards Carlislie Junction from York Haven just outside the York Haven - Pulp & Paper Mill.

The passing siding next to the main on the south side will be protected via a double head dwarf...


Jas...

Friday, 2 June 2017

Completed LokSound Conversion on a Athearn RDG RS3...

Yesterday I finally completed the conversion of my Athearn RDG RS3.  This was to date the most challenging of the decoder installs I have done myself.

There is minimal room underneath these shells and even with the LokSound - Select Micro there was barely enough room to get everything in.

First step was to strip everything down and begin wiring in the Select Micro.


Next step was to get all the wiring in and secured using Kapton tape and make sure that the decoder was mounted properly.


There was just enough room to also get the ESU (50321) cube speaker in bunched up with all the wiring.  I think if needed I get a power capacitor in but then that would be it...

And to finish off a small video showing the start up of the clunky old ALCO V12 and the manual notching of the Full Throttle features in the decoder.


Jas..

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Proto 2000 RDG GP7 - LokSound Install...

Today was a typical cold & wet Melbourne day, so time for decoder installs...

I continued on with the install of the LokSound - Select Direct decoder into the Proto 2000 RDG - GP7.  I had to cut out and Dremel several sections of the weight so that i could install the decoder.


You can see the section that have been taken out using the Dremel tool by the shiny surface.


The Select Direct - Decoder required clearance underneath the solder tabs so that they wouldn't short out on the frame.


The speaker was going to be mounted just in front of the decoder and right behind the cab but there wasn't enough room so it will mounted underneath the cab roof.

You can see the sections cut out underneath the solder tabs on the decoder.


The decoder wired and installed, it was at this stage when I went to program the decoder that I realised it was faulty and the sound amplifier isn't working...


Jas...

Saturday, 27 May 2017

More Conversions to LokSound Decoders...

So as a little project to get back into the layout after a a break for about the last month I decided to install some more LokSound - Select Direct decoders in my non-sound locomotives.

The first project was a Athearn - RDG RS3 #445.  


These are quite tight and I thought the install would be close, and it was.  Just a little tight to fit the Select-Direct in, I've ordered a Select - Micro which should work perfectly.  The RS3 will get used as a switcher for yard work at Rutherford...

LokSound - Select Micro

The next project for the day was a Atlas Silver Series - RDG MP15DC switcher.  I have previously done the Gold (QSI) version of these so this one took me about 30 minutes to convert.  


The LokSound - Select Direct fits perfectly into these and they sound awesome, being an Atlas these are super smooth at slow speeds too.  The programming of the sound files and altering of the horns and motor control is a breeze with the LokProgrammer too...

Once the programming was finished I consisted it with its sibling RDG #2772 for some yard work at Rutherford...


Last unit for the day was a Proto2000 - RDG GP7, this one is still ongoing as I have to Dremel out a fair section of the weight to get both the Select Direct and cube speaker into the shell area.  When finished all of upgrades get Kadee #158 whisker couplers too...


As you can see I've already removed a fair section of the weight towards the back, these units also get upgraded to LED lighting too.

More soon.

Jas...