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  1. #21
    Administrator Whiterook's Avatar
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    New Crossover

    UPDATE: Latest acquisition, rounding out the last bits needed for the basic layout Iím after... a crossover track!



    This is actually, a tricky bit of hardware, as it can get real wonky with wiring...and I am no electrician! The simplified version (Iíll try my best, here...) is, there is going to be an inner loop and an outer loop...and the crossover will allow you to move you train from the inner loop to the outer, and vice versa. The problem is, when you are on the outer loop, the electricity runs on the one track (the right or left side of the train locomotive, depending which direction it is running). But when I cross over to the inner track, there is an insulator (called a frog) the loco passes in the middle, and if not wired correctly, you basically run into a dead electrical current? I donít rightly know yet folks... the info on the web sucks but I think I have a handle on what is needed... though that may require a purchase of some remote insulators for each side of the crossover? Like I said... no clear idea but, it will be a trial and error thing.

    "Life begins at the end of your comfort zoneĒ

  2. #22
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    Update on the Layout Foundation

    Last Tuesday, I made what was supposed to be a quick trip to Loweís for insulation foam and wood for a tray foundation for the layout. It want quick! Turns out, the 2Ē thick 4x8 sheet of foam insulation was more sturdy than Iíd imagined, so I decided to just buy that. However, the store wouldnít cut it for me. Ugh.

    I went with the plan of just trying to cut it myself and to see if a cut down 3.5íx7í piece would fit in my RAV4 SUV, and skip the lumber and brown board. Iím glad I did!!! It didnít fit! The car narrows by the front seats and wouldnít accommodate 3.5í...I had to notch it out a bit... and the 7í didnít fit...I mutilated that end butt. It kinda sorta looks like it might work for what I need, but Iím too afraid to look at the moment

    ...it was brutal, folks!
    "Life begins at the end of your comfort zoneĒ

  3. #23
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    Inner Oval & Crossover Added! Layout is Running!!!

    OK, I’ll start with the crossover first, and how I got it to work. The answer upfront...

    You need one section of Feeder Track.



    The feeder track action from my Inner Oval solved that problem.



    Man, I must have looked at three or five articles, several YouTube videos, and a dozen or more model train forums, and it was brutal... these people are either electricians, or advanced hobbies and can’t answer the question many newbie folks like me asked: “What do I need to do to wire my crossover?”

    There was talk of insulated joiners, soldering wires on God knows what, and just general snippiness and attitude!

    NEAR MISS:
    OK, so, I will say I nearly send the Crossover back! I hooked it up to the Outer Oval (I’d not built the Inner Oval yet) and ran the CN locomotive around the track ( that worked still), but it got to the Crossover, and started to cross over and died at the insulator frog in the middle... just like people said it would. That was at the end of the day Saturday... I spent last night and this morning trying to re-figure out what I *thought* these eggheads were saying to you need to do (read: buy more stuff... insulators or solder wire). I was set to ask for a refund... but I noted one guy in a rail forum mentioned feeder track in a long diatribe. That stopped me long enough to think that through... maybe an electrical feed source on the exit side of the crossover into the inner track oval track would be enough? It was!

    I had re-boxed the Crossover Variant last night. I took it back out and hooked it up to the Outer Oval loop. I assembled the Inner Oval, and took that little section of Feeder Track that came with it, and placed it near the outer loop...makes a raised roadway section for a road bisecting the tracks. I made sure all polarity was heading the same direction, based in a Kato manual... white wired facing out, away from the loop. Ran the loco around and it worked!

    I had some extra track from a 4-pack of 8+” straights, and two pieces of short track I had from something else not used. This allowed me to get the inner loop following the top, bottom, and left side of the loop, mimicking a rounded rectangle now, rather than a loop on both loops; and the short sections bumped out the inner loop a little more to the right...

    This allows me to have more space to add structures on the right; as well as the inner left, and maybe a Yard in there latter!



    ...note that the yellow tape you see is a patch job, where I placed an end section (trimmed) that I had to cut off at Lowe’s in order to fit the damned foam board into my SUV! It’s sitting on a small utility table. I’ll glue it together later.


    Here’s a closeup of the Crossover...



    Sooooo.... I still have an option for modeling the Manning Oaks layout, with a little more track and a couple track switches, but this is pretty cool, too! I could make the inner loop towards the left, more residential; the small section to the right, industrial; and the siding at the bottom of the layout, where I sit, a station or loading station.


    UPDATE:

    I tried running the loco around both loops and it worked flawlessly. I thought I might have needed another 3-Way Connector (see post #15) in order to hook up the Passing Siding switches, but I didn’t, as I’d forgotten the passing siding switch tracks and the Crossover all come with switch boxes that plug into the side of the controller, and the wiring plugs into those...I just hooked those up and everything is running great, and I don’t have to manually throw track switches at the track... easy-peasy!

    On a side note here... I was able to better design a wiring alignment so as to minimize what trails out on the layout surface...and I used twist ties to clean up the wiring. I’ll be recessing the wires that do lay on top of the foam board by slicing channels in the foam and sinking the wires in the channels... the track will then sit flush. I placed the controller send switch boxes on a small table to the center, below the table height, and I sit in the left side (the pics above don’t show the new controller/switch boxes arrangement). Nice to finally have a train running again!

    And no... if you’re wondering if it’s staying white! I’ll be gluing down grass, applying roads, some hills or raised earth and scenery, and of course structures as I scratch build most or all of them.

    Thanks for following along on my N-scale railroading journey!
    "Life begins at the end of your comfort zoneĒ

  4. #24
    Administrator Whiterook's Avatar
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    Yard Design Exploration

    Ever since I first started looking into an N-scale layout months back, that included a Yard — a working ‘parking lot’ for trains!

    The KATO Variation 3 set is the quickest way to build one




    • Set includes:
      • 6 x Kato 20-000 248mm Straight Track (9-3/4”)
      • 2 x Kato 20-010 186mm Straight Track (7-5/16”)
      • 2 x Kato 20-030 64mm Straight Track (2-1/2”)
      • 3 x Kato 20-046 62mm Straight Track with Bumper Type A (2-7/16”)
      • 3 x Kato 20-150 718mm (28-1/4”) Radius 15ļ Curve Track (10”?)
      • 2 x Kato 20-202 #6 Left Turnout (7-5/16”)
      • 1 x Kato 20-203 #6 Right Turnout (7-5/16”)
      • 3 x Kato 24-840 Turnout Control Switch




    I did some measuring to see if it’ll fit in the left side area... I think it will so, I ordered the set, which will take a couple weeks to get here. Looking at the pictures of my layout above, the bottom of the layout, where I sit, and you can see that flat horseshoe of track, called a Passing Siding, the yard entrance will be from the right side of the crossover... the bottom rails section of the outer loop...

    I’ll replace that section coming out right/bottom of the crossover with a 20-202 #6 Left Turnout (7-5/16”) section... a section of S62mm track, which is 2-7/16” long, will make up the length for the removed 248mm straight track, which is 9-3/4” (I hope my math is right!). The left (upper) side of the turnout track will proceed in the yard area (left open side of the layout), to another left turnout, and then a right turnout switch. That will give me three sections of parking track that my trains will be able to back rolling stock into...

    You know, I’ve never seen written anywhere, how a train on a layout gets rolling stock into a yard! I mean, if you drive it in forward, how does the locomotive get back out and leave its cars? It can’t! So they must back in. Only way I can figure it. If I’m wrong, I’ll place it at the top of the layout, going in the same yard area. I have something to research!

    So, I really don’t know if this Variation 3 set (the Yard) is going to work on my layout.lol it should. I may not have the room for the entire length as shown in the tracks illustration above, but it will have a nice amount...and if it doesn’t work well space+wise, I can buy some curves and expand the yard up along side the inner side of the outer right loop side.

    I was a little hesitant with the plan to abut the switch track to the crossover... electrical currents and all still freak me out a bit, but it should work fine. The problem wipeouts be worth the remote switch and direction to flip it (I’m overthinking it, actually... chill!).

    What this acquisition does is complete everything I’d basically wanted in a small layout to run trains and do some yard work, as well as passing trains. Remember... this is all DC (Direct Current), which means if I run two trains at once, they are fed from the same controller, which means they run at the same time, not independently. I plan to change to DCC in the future, which is one of those remote controllers type deal, where the trains can run independently! ...that requires making physical, internal modifications to my locomotives, though... now that’s scary in self!
    "Life begins at the end of your comfort zoneĒ

  5. #25
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    Layout Track Crossings

    So if you’ve maybe noticed, I have an outer mainline loop, with an inner town loop, but only one track crossing way at the top of the mainland. One of the things I wanted to work on for the basics of the layout was entry/egress... hence, railroading track crossings! Just ordered two of these...



    One will definitely go into the yard area to the right, and one likely at the top/right of the mainline. Note these are not working lights/gates...just visual aesthetics, though they are functional re-railers, so that’s running security ...and gets the point across! ...and adds some eye candy.

    $20 each, so it was a little tough to pull the trigger on, but it’s the price you pay on any hobby these days (literally).
    "Life begins at the end of your comfort zoneĒ

  6. #26
    Lordy but you been busy! And learning new electrical skills to boot. Model RR has gotten a lot more expensive and involved over the past couple decades that's for sure.

  7. #27
    Administrator Whiterook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hagen View Post
    Lordy but you been busy! And learning new electrical skills to boot. Model RR has gotten a lot more expensive and involved over the past couple decades that's for sure.


    ...it’s funny, but it feels like I’ve been busy, but also like it’s slow progress. There’s sooooo much too it now, and OMG yes, has it gotten expensive! All hobbies have, though, so I keep telling myself to not get too hung up I. The prices. I was looking at N-scale vehicles for the layout tonight, on sale at Model Train Stuff, sold in two’s... $25-ish USD so, about twelve bucks a car! I mean, we’re talking about a teenie vehicle less than a half inch long at best!!!

    I've probably sunk between between $700 to a grand-ish at this point... I’ve lost track (no pun intended!). I did go into this eyes wide open to the fact that it would be a heavy start-up price.

    I actually just got the final variation set (the rail yard)... arrived 5 minutes ago! This was meant to complete the layout... though I am now thinking I’ll likely add in a switch and a small line of track to a factory or manufacturer of some sort... that’ll probably cost me around $50 or so. That’d be about it for track.and it’s a good deal higher than a basic layout at this juncture. I’m happy with it! If the yard works as expected, I’ll have some great running operation choices with about six switching units to make my trains cruise the outer main line, switch into an inner operations loop, and set up in a decent sized yard.

    The ground cover will be over an impressive surface size (about 5 x 7 feet), and shouldn’t be too expensive. I want to use some of the excess foam I cut off the insulation foam core board to make some hills and land features.

    On the electrical.... yeah, I never thought I’d get this far into the subject. I’m no handyman! My HO layout wast just snap track and run...nothing big. Though I’m working in a smaller scale, it’s a LOT more involved!
    "Life begins at the end of your comfort zoneĒ

  8. #28
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    April 11, 2021 Update: The Yard

    So if youíve been following along, youíll remember that I was going to place my yard on the right quadrant of the layout, between the inner loop and the outer Main Line loop. I unpacked the Variation 3, Rail Yard Switching Track Set and tried a dry-fit (didnít snap the track together, but laid it in approximation). I found that I would have a shorter track length on the three categorization track lines (the three lines of track where I can assemble and store train cars and locos). It looked like this...





    ...so I was left with a dilemma... I had the track pointing in my preferred direction ó able to back my trains in counterclockwise (my train runs in direct current, DC, clockwise), yet I have less parking space! It was not using all the track that came with the set, and it was kinda cobbled together to accommodate the configurations of track that came with the set.

    So I scrapped that plan and decided to try going in the direction the full configuration of track the set came with (the curves and varied lengths of straights) for an inner loop design (oddly enough, it probably would have worked if I was setting the yard outside the outer Main Line, but I donít have the space, nor is it practicable.

    What this ended up doing however, was two things:
    1. The inner loop had to be expanded out further to the right, closer to the Main Line. Not a horrible thing by any means, really. All that does is make what was supposed to be more unpopulated land disappear. Thatís OK though, as now Iíll have more residential area possibilities.
    2. I was short on track! Luckily, Iíd had an extra length of 248mm track (the longest straight track), and a pack of four 62mm lengths. I also had a small 64mm length track I could use from the variation set for now. I can always add as necessary to the yard with some new-buy short track....though I think Iíll buy some longer lengths and consolidate all the shorts I used. What I am long winded saying is, I made due with everything I had extra leftover and bought, and it somehow worked!


    This is what the layout looked like after snapping everything thogther...





    All assembled, I was time to hook all the switches to the track, with three switch controls added to the main control. Thatís one of the best thing about the KATO track system (a Japanese company, by the way... awesome stuff!)...the small switch controls snap to the side of the main controller and gain power directly from the main controller! I then put my Canadian National locomotive back on the tracks and ran it through all the switches and crossover, and it worked great! Knowing it was operational, I labeled the switch controls with number stickers, and placed like-number stickers on the layout...this way I know what to throw! Perfect!!! My only issue was figuring out the passing siding again...both end switches need to be thrown to not short out the line. Hereís a final look at where it is in deign and operation currently, including all the switch controls in place...



    Iíll run the layout with some yard operations to see how it works for me and if I have any issues deign-wise. The happy ending part of this is, as I was asking on Facebook for advice, people said it doesnít matter of you drive into or back into the yard rails...and someone mentioned that in fact, there are less chances for derailments in revering cars out of a yard (in other words, pulling them out rather than pushing them out). What I may end up doing is buying a switcher... a small locomotive made specifically (in real life) for moving and parking rail cars.
    "Life begins at the end of your comfort zoneĒ

  9. #29
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    April 15, 2021 Update

    Named my rail road line layout, and the town it will focus on... and renamed/updated the thread name and lost #1. This is now, the Tupville RR!

    So what’s new so far? I picked up some 186mm track to swap out with the 3- 62mm sections I had to use to get the layout running. I’ll swap that out this weekend.

    I debated pretty much all last weekend, do I have the Yard facing in the direction (clockwise running) that I want. The final answer was, no, not really, but it is what it is, based on configuration restraints, and is 100% viable. I’m going to run it in this particular configuration and see how things go! I can always alter it later, though it would be challenging.

    I really like the final product as it sits, and I’ll have plenty of running action. I might add in a spur (a switch and a fairly long section of side track branched off the inner loop) at the top of the layout at some point. This would be for the older era CN Passenger Line train. I don’t think it would mess with the running lengths too badly... switches are a unique size and require “make-up track” on the opposite end of the layout to balance things out.

    I’ll be adding in a couple RR crossing gates, but I need to assemble, paint, and weather them first. Same for an Engine House, for the yard. Those will be my first ever, actual builds in model railroading (my old HO layout had pre-assembled structures you just plopped down).

    This weekend, I am planning to (attempt to) glue some foam back on the layout base, which had to be hacked off in order to get the insulation foam board to fit into my SUV. I’m going to try using some Aleen’s Tacky glue.

    Later down the line, I will be doing some scratch building of structures and accessories. I’ll have build threads on those.
    "Life begins at the end of your comfort zoneĒ

  10. #30
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    Yard Update and Wiring

    I started off this session with applying Aeleen’s Tacky Glue to the left side foam board, for a hopefully, more secure posture... and glued on a piece I hacked off (upper left corner) in the Lowe’s parking lot to fit the board in my SUV!

    My 185mm straight track came in so, I removed the three 62mm track from the top of the layout and replaced it with one 186mm track, and then I worked in the Yard Spurs, extending them out further (compare to pictures in post #28) to accommodate the incoming Engine House I’m about to build. This later track work is good, in that it will allow me to get longer trains in!



    The two upper lines of the Yard benefited most from added track...



    Next, I sallied forth with the idea I had about cutting into the top surface of the foam baseboard with a utility knife, to allow me to sink the controller/switch wires embedded into the surface. I used my knife to cut down as far as the blade allowed, which is about an inch or so. I had to lift track, somewhat delicately so as not to damage the unijoiners, and cut on angles away from the track wire exit holes (on the bottom, side of the track pieces), out to the edge of the layout near the controllers. I then used my thumbnail to carefully push the wires down into the cuts... they sunk in nicely and are now deep enough that when I do the painting and scenery work on the surface, I’ll still be able to pull the wire up if needed.





    ...oh, and that’s a section pipe insulation in front...I sliced it open length-wise and popped the loose hanging wires that were tangling at my kneecaps! Much better! I’ll have to figure out how to secure it to the front side.

    This was done after a particularly frustrating day at work and reminded me how much hobbies reduce stress abs bring joy back into our lives!
    "Life begins at the end of your comfort zoneĒ

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