Modelling the E&N in HO Scale in my basement

Archive for November, 2011

November 28, 2011

Been a little while since I posted an update, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing anything.

Though admittedly it hasn’t been a huge amount of work, every little bit will help. So far I’ve got a lot of feeders and frogs wired together through the installed bullfrogs, work done on getting the command station and boosters setup on a small shelf on the peninsula wall close to the helix, acquired a UPS for protecting the electronics, and oh yeah, built a few more bullfrogs. I’ve also installed and partially wired in three UP5’s, though more needs to be done for those to be usable.

Once I’ve got a fair amount of work done on cleaning up the existing projects I’m likely going to host an open house so everyone can take a look at the work to date. Probably going to be around Christmas, so I’d suggest sending me an email ( and I will privately advise on the address and time/date as the latter get nailed down.


November 20, 2011

Called Cam and Dan this morning to invite them on a hobby shop crawl (nice this city has several shops open on Sunday!) and then do some work on the layout. I picked up a proto 2000 sw9/1200 for the port alberni switcher, (needs a dip as I don’t think the alberni pacific paint scheme has ever been done RTR.) some decals for when the GP9’s are painted, and the latest edition of Railfan Canada which has an article about the E&N.

When we got back to my place, work progressed on fixing a couple of other minor sunkinks and fixing a short on the layout. Two things discovered through that hour plus of frustration:

  1. The continuity on my layout is freaking fantastic!
  2. don’t use a piece of rail set between the ties as a temporary wheel stop.

Most of the Victoria sub is now fully wired and I’ve also even started installing the UP5’s into the layout, thanks to the silver satin cable and plugs I picked up from active electronics yesterday.


Sun Kinks followup

Further to yesterday’s post about the issue of sun kinks…

Spent a bit of time thinking what the heck was going on and then decided to lift a few spikes (turnout did not get lifted) and then cut the rails with a pair of rail nippers.  When I put the track back down to see what sort of length was causing the buckle, it was very close to an eighth of an inch!

Unsoldered the section of track immediately to the north of the switch and then let the turnout rest.  Thankfully, it straightened out almost on it’s own and with a few minor adjustments, is back to normal.  A new section of track was installed after the requisite solder wick was acquired and left a little short with an expansion joint.  The bullfrog controlling that turnout was also replaced, more to ensure an easier time with getting the feeder wires hooked up to the frog.

Inspections on other turnouts showed initial evidence of rail expansion and we’ll have to make sure we do a really good job of spiking down the turnouts with both track spikes and Peco track pins which extend all the way to the subroadbed.

I have a funny feeling that the basement is cooler in the summer than in the winter…

Sun kinks?


Well then. So much for “trackwork that never goes out of gauge.”

Came downstairs to do some wiring work and when I glanced over to the ballast pit spur to set down a reel of wire, noticed something rather odd. And there you have it, a sun kink/heat buckle at one of the worst possible spots.

I thought the basement was a relatively stable climate for the railway and now finding out that I need to adjust track laying practices to ensure there is some room for movement in the rail.


Will post more as repair efforts are done.

Smartphone Friendly!

I host my own WordPress site. Until today, that meant a lot of people who view my site on a smartphone or an iPad got to view the regular desktop version of the website. Given the links and intended large size of the screen, this made for a poor user experience. (Those who host their blogs on didn’t have this to worry about…)

But starting today, those who access my site from a small device like an iPhone or an Android device can now see the content in a format much more suited to their screen, and is much better on bandwidth consumed in accessing the site, so your data plan won’t get smacked just from viewing the blog. Note that you will still have access to all the content, just in a different format.

If you have any feedback on this, either leave a comment on this post or send me an email.


November 15, 2011

Another quick update…

Last night I finished soldering the feeders to the track (not to the bus though) on the Victoria sub north of Parksville and then proceeded to install a few bullfrogs…

Specifically on the superior propane spur, the south storage track in the vicinity and importantly, the junction switch at Parksville. I will admit, having lateral adjustment on the bullfrog mounting is extremely useful. Yet another reason why I love these things so much!

November 14, 2011

Cam was ever so nice to make a side trip on his way to work, stopping at MRO to pick up some hook up wire for my layout. Two 100′ reels of wire for about $22. B&E would extract more than double that for the same thing. And I have to question why?

In any event, I picked it up from Cam after work. After dinner, I pulled some more bus wire, hooked it up to the main bus and the dropped a bunch of feeders, soldering about half of them to the track before heading off to bed.


November 13, 2011

A really quick update tonight.  Spent about a half-hour spiking down all the fitted track on the Victoria Sub north of the Parksville Junction switch.  On account of a lack of suitable feeder wire, I’m not likely going to get anything that direction done until I can obtain wire.

Not to say I can’t get anything else done, like installing Bullfrogs for instance, or getting an accessory bus done up to power the tortoises or the UP5’s…



Had to work today, so not as much progress as I was hoping.  However, I did manage to spike down a section of the Victoria Sub immediately after the junction switch, and then pulled the fitted track up so I could prep the turnouts (ie: remove the throwbar and headblocks from the wrong side of the switch) and drill the holes for the throwbar as well as drilling a hole in the throwbar for the eventual installation of the Bullfrog.

I also soldered up the turnout for Buckley Bay.


November 9, 2011

Cam called this evening, from home, around 7:30. Most normal people wouldn’t give this a second thought, but this was rare for Cam. He works evenings during the week, so he was definitely home way early.

I said he was welcome to come over, and he did. I said I was in the midst of doing some work to get my spray booth up and operational, and while I was cutting plywood for the base, he continued working on the fitting of the track we started laying last weekend. I had originally taken a photo at the time we finished that task, and everything looks good, but the photo turned out like crap.  Now we can drill the holes for the throwbars, get the track soldered together and wire it up. Now all the track is connected!

November 5 & 6, 2011

So I will admit that the fluorescent fixture wasn’t entirely all my work. Most of it was, but Cam did provide some assistance. Once that task was done, he got to work on sanding (and in some spots, grinding) the cork into the shape we needed for the Victoria sub, just north of the Parksville junction switch. Once that chore was done and the evidence vacuumed up, he got to work with fitting track.

Meanwhile I was busy getting the three turnouts ready to go, which for one of them included getting it soldered together, and for all three, gluing up the skeletons to the quick sticks, cutting the isolation gaps for the frog and otherwise making them ready for the layout. We managed to get the storage track fitted together and pushed cars from the Parksville yard all the way into the helix, so in some respects, the connection has been made to join up all the track, however, the main track isn’t fully fitted, nor have we got anything really spiked down.

Murray also came up to inspect the progress and was quite pleased. I was certainly happy to have him up too.

Today was a slightly quieter day. I came downstairs with the intent of getting some other stuff done and accomplished:

  • construction of the last bullfrog I have in stock. Need lots more though.
  • built up another four boxcars. Easy kits too. Even better is the fact I obtained them for two or four bucks each. And then spent more than that per car on changing out couplers to kadee #58’s with whiskers and metal wheels…
  • submerging three GP-9 shells in 99% isopropyl alcohol. I hope they don’t come out worse for wear…
  • starting on a turnout for Buckley Bay.

Overall, a relatively nice and productive day.


Let there be light!


Ever since we changed the track plan and eliminated Wellcox yard, the lighting plan was already decided on. As such, Parksville and arrowsmith siding were always a little dark.

This morning, I rectified the problem with the installation of one more light fixture perpendicular to the rest of the fixtures in the basement.

I think it works wonderfully!