Modelling the E&N in HO Scale in my basement


October 23, 2011

I received a phone call from one of the hobby shops I deal with advising my Intermountain wheels were in.  Goodie…I can take the plastic wheels out of the new boxcar kits I’ve assembled and turn them into scrap loads.  Not that I’m likely to ever do that since wheelsets likely wouldn’t have been changed out anywhere other than Wellcox yard on the island…

Gave Cam a call in the early afternoon, woke him up, and then advised we’d be headed out.  Stopped by Eastridge for the wheels, found they didn’t have any needed Peco track pins and went to Ewok Emporium (aka Chinook & Hobby West – South) for those.  Bought all six bags of them since I’m quite likely going to need that many (and more) for the rest of the layout.

Did a bit of railfanning down at the spot and had a bit of lunch, then back to the house for some additional work on the layout.

Accomplished was a fair bit more wiring/soldering work, cutting isolation gaps between power sub-districts (I’m subdividing the four power districts on the layout to further protect the remainder of the layout from the inevitable shorts) and getting a couple Bullfrogs installed on the siding switches at Bryn.

All in all, another productive afternoon.  Once things get wired into a command station/booster, and bullfrogs installed at Parksville, I can actually do a little switching.  Whoo hoo!


October 22, 2011

A brief update for today. After running a few errands, had Cam and Dan over for a few hours early this afternoon to get some stuff done.

Turns out, mostly electrical work on the laid trackage. Dan dropped feeders on the Bryn section, Cam spiked down a couple feet worth of the trackage south of Bryn, and afterwards, while I was finishing up soldering the feeders to the lower helix, he stripped and prepped all the feeders onto the bus wire. I followed afterwards with soldering all the wiring together. Still more soldering to do, but had other plans this evening. Will likely get more done tomorrow…

Lessons learned

Spent a few minutes (well, okay so it was closer to a full hour) down in the basement and tried to figure out what task to take care of. Figured a few more feeders could be hooked up to the track and found some begging for some long overdue attention.

Months ago, Dan took on the fun task of crimping feeder wires onto big ring terminals and then getting them into position on the main helix. I finally got around to actually attaching them to the track. Well, half of them….more or less. You see, it’s great to have access to both sides of the helix so the black wires can be soldered on easily from the outside and then go into the inside to solder the red wires to the inside rail.

Except for the fact there’s no easy way to solder the black wires to the track when you can’t be on the outside due to a wall. Oops.

So when we start in on doing the upper deck helix, we’ll solder feeders on when the track is more exposed…


October 9th, 2011

So the previously disconnected track around the peninsula end of the middle is now connected! With yesterday’s installation of the two curved turnouts leading to the Parksville team track and National Silicates (along with their associated tortoises), Cam and I got all the trackage laid, spiked down and feeder wires hooked up to the track (still needs to be hooked up to the bus mind you…) and then worked all the way to Bryn. So for the time being, we have trackage from south of Bryn through to the port sub past Parksville.

Excellent progress!

Really offset Tortoise install


Here is the switch leading to the Parksville team track. On account of the one-turn helix underneath this track, we couldn’t put the switch machine underneath the trackage as per normal custom. As a result, we fashioned some funky tube and wire contraption to ensure there is adequate pressure on the points. The turnout will be controlled by a signalogics switch control.

My first curved turnout!


Here’s my first curved turnout, in place for the National Silicates spur at Parksville. And yes, the inside curve is indeed the main track…

September 27, 2011

Last night saw some free time, decided to head downstairs and see what I could do. After much deliberation between building curved turnouts and dropping feeders, I decided on the latter. All the trackage secured within the Parksville area is now soldered together and feeders connected to the track. Didn’t quite get to connecting them to the bus however…

September 26, 2011

Apologies for the lack of posts over the past little while.

Admittedly, not a whole lot of stuff going on other than things taking up weekends (GETS in Edmonton, Railway Days at Heritage Park, good weather and obviously taking advantage of it before snow flies.) to get stuff done.

However, a few bits to report on:

  1. A restock of Code 70 ME flextrack arrived, so I’ve got enough to lay trackage on the visible portions of the peninsula.
  2. We’ve secured the trackage in the Parksville yard.  I’m also getting a fair number of feeders wired for that trackage as well, including the port sub trackage on the middle deck.
  3. I’ve built a few Bullfrogs, now that I know how to make them work effectively (ie: take some of the spring out, wax the moving friction bits and voila.  Works wonderfully.)  I’ve also installed two of them – one at south siding switch Mud Bay and at the Ballast Spur just south of that.
  4. I’ve acquired and received a few more bits from FastTracks, including an assembly fixture for doing the curved 30″/40″ #8 turnouts and a few more quicksticks.  As a result, getting trackage laid through the Parksville industrial area will be happening soon and we’ll be able to connect a few more bits of trackage together.  (thinking south of Bryn all the way through to where the port sub enters the helix!)
  5. We’ve got another piece of backdrop installed, so most of Parksville has a backdrop installed.  We are learning that the “Murray school of glue” is desirable here.  For those who don’t know, Murray is one who figures that if it’s worth doing, it’s worth OVERdoing.  Thus, his glue applications tended to be quite excessive.  The backside of the masonite is quite rough owing to the manufacturing so the excessive glue is better to ensure a good bond.
Once I’ve got a few things cleaned up, I’ll post some more pictures.

Port Sub trackage


Tracklaying for the Port Alberni subdivision and backdrops are visible here. The turnout at the front is the junction switch for the Victoria and port subs.

September 4, 2011

Cam has recently been on my case to get backdrops in much sooner than later…While I was (and still am in some respects) reluctant to see why it’s now a “MUST DO NOW” thing, I went along with it as it’s going to be needed sometime and there is some benefit to having them in before anything fragile can get damaged.

Timing was also good for Dan too, as he had some cleanup duty recently at a store which had protected it’s new floor with full 4×8 sheets of masonite.  Now that the store is about to open, they needed to get rid of the masonite.  Since the material wasn’t screwed into, placed face down on the floor, and in otherwise very usable condition, I readily agreed to accept a few sheets that would’ve otherwise gone into the dumpster.  Score!  (hint:  It’s a good thing to have a friend in the demolition business!)

Lured by fresh cinnamon rolls, Dan and Cam came over late this morning to get going on the backdrop installation.  Dan showed up first with the masonite which we manhandled through the basement window and into the basement.  This task will certainly be far more difficult once we start putting the shelves up around the walls!

Cam came over shortly after I finished moving the test train into the helix where it’s less likely to be knocked around (and potentially onto the floor!) and we got to work with measuring and cutting the masonite.  Many measurements and cuts with a circular saw, we found that 3 full sheets of 4×8′ masonite wasn’t enough to do all the backdrops on the middle and lower decks!

Owing to the great weather outside, we called it quits after that and went railfanning – Scored a lucky break and managed to catch a CN Freight in the evening heading out to the Louis Dreyfuss elevator at Lyalta on the Drumheller sub – headed by an SD40-2W and GP38-2W!