Modelling the E&N in HO Scale in my basement

Archive for June, 2011

June 25, 2011

I have two projects on the go right now in my basement.  One of which is installing tortoises into the “centre crossover” section of Lindsay Yard for the Calgary Free-mo.  The other project is the E&N, of course.

Dan called this morning and wanted to come over to do some work on the layout.  When he got here, he found out about the first project and wanted to get some practice with wiring up tortoises.  He’s likely installing a fair number of them on his layout when that gets going, and I didn’t see any reason why he couldn’t get some practice in now.  So, with some advice, guidance and my tools, he got to work on those and voila.  8 tortoises ready for installation.

Cam came over a little after Dan started in on the tortoises and he and I got to work on the layout.  Cam put in the last bits of cork on the Port Sub section on the middle deck, and then proceeded to grind the living daylights out of it to provide a level ramp off/on the cork for the transition from scenicked area to helix trackage which doesn’t have any cork.  My Surform tool got quite a workout.

Following that, he got some trackage laid from the peninsula helix towards Parksville’s industrial area, only to find there were two concerns:

1)  I didn’t have any micro-engineering joiners of suitable size.  Apparently the code 83/100 Atlas rail joiners are just a little oversize for the code 70 track.

2)  I didn’t have the curved #8 turnout for the Parksville team track built yet.  At some point soon, I’ll tackle that project.

I did receive a full box of goodies from Fast Tracks via UPS earlier in the week and in it were 24 #6 quicksticks which I started making use of.  Three turnouts are now virtually complete and ready for insertion into the layout after I spent the morning washing the turnout skeletons.

I also had a bit of a brainwave this morning and after explaining it to Cam and Dan, they readily agreed on the track revision. Northbound out of Wellington Siding, the trackage passes by ICG Propane and then curves again and into Bryn.  Noting the mainline distance between Wellington and Bryn being well over 7-10 miles, I figured there should be a little bit more track between the two and used the space underneath the unloading ramp north of Parksville Junction to install a little more hidden trackage to increase the running length and improve the illusion of distance between the two places.  Once Dan finished with the Tortoise wiring, we all got to work on getting the supports and subroadbed installed into place.  The area formerly planned to be occupied by track will now likely be a whole ton of trees and perhaps a trail of some sort.  We’ll see.

Also of note is the installation of the subroadbed and cork for Bryn.  That’s all done now too.


I host a prolific manufacturer

Amazing what happens when things fall into place…

A few days ago I contacted Jason Shron of Rapido Trains to advise I had taken a couple days off work to help him out with his “Canadian on tour” while he was here in Calgary. He readily agreed to this and we met up a short distance from my work on Tuesday evening. Things got really interesting from there… To the point that he didn’t want to stay at the hotel he booked for himself and ended up accepting my offer of my guest room when all the other hotel rooms in Calgary were taken up. The full details are available first here:

June 22nd

And here:

June 24th

You can see a couple pictures of me and the layout on Wednesday morning. While Jason’s writing makes it look like it’s all my work, nothing could be further from the truth… This layout is just as much Cam’s as it is mine… It just happens to be in my basement and built with my funds.

Thanks for coming out Jason, and you can come back anytime for a visit. Just make sure you bring warmer clothes. 🙂

And for the rest of you… Do order a Canadian set or two. He alludes to manufacturing an RDC model but it won’t happen unless sales of the Canadian are really, really good…


June 4th, 2011

Got up this morning, had breakfast, and went downstairs to do some cleanup, and to start building #8 turnouts.  Got one LH built, which will end up either at the South Siding Switch of Mud Bay, or the Junction Switch at Parksville.  In either event, it is needed much sooner than later.

Later in the morning, Cam came over and we got to work.  Progress on the helix was already up to the point where we were at the midpoint, and needing trackage to get in and out of the helix from the middle deck of the layout.  We had already cut the pieces of wood to graft onto the helix pieces, but ran out of time to get the other bits cut, secured, and whatnot to get them all working together.  Today was the day to make that happen.

So, we got the Victoria Sub connection into the helix attached (after much test fitting and rasping to get a clean tight joint) with a couple splice plates made from Baltic Birch and plenty of glue (oh yeah, the other task from the morning was refilling the yellow carpenter’s glue bottle – works much better now!) and clamps.

While Cam was taking care of the dryfitting, I got the subroadbed boards for Parksville Yard and the Port Sub trimmed to a much better size, and looking really good.  Once the connection piece into the helix was secured, we secured down the subroadbed boards with plenty of screws.

Following that, the connection to the Port Sub into the helix came in and after much debate as to the height of the helix, figured it was good where it was and secured it very firmly to the two walls it sits against.  The thing is not moving at all!  We can now start running track within Parksville and then into the helix and carry that up to the top.  All I need to get done are a few more turnouts, cork laid, and then we can lay track, wire it up and perhaps have a bit of switching going on at Parksville.

Towards the end of the day, we liberated more than a few pieces of rolling stock from their boxes, including a CP Rail GP35, hitched them all together and ran them up the helix at around 30% power from the powerpack.  No issues whatsoever, so I’m figuring if all works well, 3 locos should have no problems hauling 18 cars up to Port Alberni.

A great day for progress.  Yes, I’m sure you’re wanting pictures.  No, I haven’t taken them yet.  Patience grasshopper…

June 3rd, 2011

Happy day!

Got an email from a good friend and fellow model railroader David Bedard.  This guy does some pretty fantastic modelling, and after a brief stint in HO scale, went back to N scale.  Still does some great decoder installations and full of other modelling goodness.

But that’s not why I’m writing about him tonight.  No, tonight, I’m writing to say he found my Fast-Tracks #8 turnout assembly fixture!  I’m needing it for at least 5 turnouts on the layout, two of which are needed much sooner than later.  I’ve been almost literally turning my house and garage upside down trying to find this plate of aluminum without success and thinking I’ve lost it.

No, he had it, loaned to him quite some time ago when he wanted to borrow it for building some HO scale turnouts.  He spent around 3 hours trying to find the point-form tool which I already had.

So, Michaelea and I went on a trip to NW Calgary to pay him, his wife and two daughters a visit.  I got my assembly fixture, a couple others (#5 and #7 turnout assembly fixtures and point-form tools) which I wasn’t expecting, but grateful to have nonetheless, and Michaelea got to spend some time with young kids and Samantha.  We also had a great time shooting the breeze and he showed off a #12 N scale turnout built with code 40 rail.  Wow…Talk about tiny!