Yup, I’m back on track. OK, enough with the stupid puns, I promise. I was able to get back out to the garage and get the plywood cut for the subroadbed curve around the end of the peninsula. How was this possible? I was finally able to get rid of the Candy Cart. Insert happy dance here. With it out of the way I have room to get things done now.
The cart went away around the end of October. With it gone I shifted into high gear. My goal was to have track in and wired on the upper deck up to and including the upper reverse loop by Thanksgiving. That way I could orbit a couple of trains. My family loves to see the layout and to see the trains run. However, watching a train run to the end of the finished track and stop just doesn’t cut it. I have learned that unless you’re into model railroading you want to see trains running. Even if it’s a big circle.
With that in mind I got to work. I installed the curve around the end of the peninsula and the plywood for what will be “Interstate Junction”. Side note, I will have a post in the near future explaining the “Junction”.
Laying out the “Junction” required working out the return loop first. How the return loop lies determines where the track cuts off the mainline.
As I had mentioned before, the return loop crosses the mainline as it comes out of the helix. So that is where I started.
With this laid out I added the support structure for the return loop subroadbed.
The plan was for the loop to meet back up just past the bridge to head back out to the mainline. However I had clearance problems. The return loop ended up climbing a bit over the end of the helix. I had to run the loop down the other side of the divider before meeting back up.
Once I had this part laid out I went back and laid out the mainline track work and where the loop branched off.
And then it was just a matter of piecing everything together. Once done I started adding the cork roadbed.
After the cork was in place it was on to the track and wiring.
I have kept all grades (the amount of rise or fall of the track) to 2% or less. Because of the climb over the end of the helix, the return loop drop is closer to 3%. I don’t see this as a problem because trains are traveling counter clockwise and the 3% is downhill.
Anyways… once the track was in and wired it was time.
I was thrilled to have gotten this done. It has been a long time goal and now I’m there. Of coarse it was not problem free. When I wired in the lower return loop with the Digitrax (digitrax.com) AR-1, the return loop worked flawlessly. With the second wired into the upper loop I now have a problem. The first train entering each return loop (upper and lower) trips a breaker, pauses and then goes on. After that no more problems. Only thing at this time I can think of is to tweak the trip current on the AR-1’s.
AND this was all done Thanksgiving Eve. Trains ran beautifully on the big day.
With this done, I’m now able to let the trains run. Where this is important is getting all the engines out and running. They’ve been in storage for way to long. I’ll be able to see which are fine and which will need some TLC.
And that’s it for now. Till later…