The layout: one week later.

It has been a productive week on the layout and I’m quite pleased with where things are at. I just finished soldering in the final set of guardrails on the turnouts. I snapped these two photos to share how things look now. I’ll refer back to the track plan throughout this post, by track name, so here’s the plan again:

All of the main running rails are now in place. As mentioned, I’m using code 55 to represent seventy-five pound rail in these locations. On two of the sidings, Storage 002 and Public 003, I’ll be using lighter code 40 rail to represent the fifty-five pound rail you could still find along the western end of the Murray Harbor branch into the 1980’s. When I worked in N and Z, I used code 40 for all my track but this is the first time I’ve ever worked with it in anything larger. With some careful soldering, the code 40 rail is just high enough to permit regular profile HO scale wheels to run without picking on the ties. The photograph, above, with the truck in it shows this first complete code 40 siding.

We have a busy weekend ahead of us. If time permits, here’s what I’d like to try and accomplish over the next few days:

I need to cut the rest of the isolation gaps in the PC ties and test to make sure I’ve eliminated any potential short circuits. I’ve been doing this as I go so it’s mostly some of the switch ties I need to address.

I am ready to start dropping some feeder wires down to the main layout bus wire. With a few of these in place it might be possible to run an engine in some limited capacity and that would feel terrific.

I need to figure out how I want to move the point blades. It would be great if I could figure this out around the time when I’m soldering in all those feeder wires so I can get the turnout frogs wired too – then it’s really time to run some trains.

I need to cut some plywood and foam or something to build up the back of the layout, especially in the area around where Public 003 and my model of the Mount Albion warehouse will sit.

I’m also going to extend Storage 002 to run the full length of the switch lead. It still won’t form a runaround loop on the layout but I would like it to appear as though it did “in real life”.

I’ve also really focussed the “what” and “when” parts of the plan. I’m going to settle on things as they were in 1974. I’ll get into the year in a separate post soon. As for location, I’m focussing this on the western end of the Murray Harbour branch. Eventually I’d like to have a layout that modelled the full, albeit abridged, line from Mount Herbert to Lake Verde Junction. I’ll use this layout as a practice run for that project and I’ll draw on towns along this line for structures.

I’m having so much fun with this project. I wish I had launched into this project much sooner. In a little more than a week I’ve accomplished more than I ever tried to after several months of procrastination. I’m better at some things and really enjoying the hobby.

Categories: Trackwork and Handlaid Track

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