Modelling the E&N in HO Scale in my basement


January 1, 2012

Spent a little bit of time today on the Buckley Bay / Union Bay roadbed today, primarily getting the cork laid down. Also nearly completed the turnout for Buckley Bay spur as well. Should be able to lay some track down tomorrow and wire it up for operation. One of the nice things with single track territory is that it lays down nice and quick!

Oh yeah, happy new year!

December 30, 2011

Went to acquire a few goodies at MRO Electronics this morning, before they closed early due to new years eve (at least they were open, their main competition was closed for the entire week…) and when Cam and I got home, started work on one of the planned projects: the extension north from Mud Bay siding. Yes, the track did go a little further, but not enough in my opinion. So, we got to work with prepping the track board for Buckley Bay (a short single ended spur), and the track board and risers for the rest of the run down the peninsula towards the curve off the peninsula wall and onto the outer walls (the ones which still need shelf standards and brackets…)

After much work, decisions, and a new bottle of yellow glue (the previous bottle cracked in the middle…not easy getting air to compress and push the glue out), we have some more benchwork built, and ready for cork, track, and wiring.


December 29, 2011

Today, decided to get the tortoises on the port sub wired up fully, and connected to the control panels purchased for them. While somewhat finicky, I did actually manage to have success with using some unused and relatively old Cat3 cable for wiring up both power and control for those three switch machines.


Open house – great success!

So the open house on Wednesday was a great success. Cam arrived mid-morning and helped huge with getting things cleaned up and organized along with me, and Michaelea did a fantastic job tidying up the main floor.

Around 1pm, Cam and I started fixing a temporary loconet cabling thing and then Grant and Mike showed up. And then more came and went…we never did get that cable fixed to a point where we could power up the layout until much closer to four or five pm when everyone was gone, at least for a bit of time. Once done, all was powered up and then more came and went…

In total, I think we had at least a dozen people through to see the progress on the layout. Certainly some of you would’ve liked to be here but couldn’t due to distance, work, or simply being on holidays during this time of year. I understand. If you want to take a look, send me an email and we can try to set up a mutually good time for you to take a look.


December 21, 2011

A quick update on the shortest day of the year (even though it’s still 24hours long?)

Last night went downstairs after dinner and worked on wiring the port sub to the bus, which actually had to also be installed.

Also wired in the frog power to the three tortoise switch machines as well.

At some point will need to get some serious cleaning done before the open house next week. hint: if you haven’t got your invite yet, please send me an email ( for the details.


December 12, 2011

With the snow falling pretty much all day yesterday, decided to get some stuff done around the house and then went to the basement to get some stuff done.

Nearly finished getting the bus wires hooked up to boosters, hated the barrier block I was using to transition the 14ga solid wire to 14ga stranded wire, and ripped it out and replaced it with a terminal strip which necessitated crimping on a bunch of fork terminals. In the end, very much worthwhile for reliability. The old barrier block would’ve been prone to wires coming loose and falling out.

Also pulled the bus wires for the accessory bus and wired in the tortoise controllers in the south Parksville industrial area (National Silicates and the team track) and voila. That works now!

It was by this time that Cam had finished a rather grueling weekend of work and he came over to unwind and at this point I powered up all three boosters, making all track runnable. I gave him a throttle, locomotive and sprinkled a few cars around the layout and gave him the switching orders. Was really pleased to see the layout run smoothly and all the switching done!

A reminder for those who haven’t heard, I’m hosting an open house in a couple weeks. For full info, you’ll need to email me ( soon.


December 4, 2011

A quick update tonight before I retire for the evening.

I’ve been taking care of a few little things over the past few days. Not a whole lot of time spent on the layout owing to a few other priorities, but did manage to hook up the loconet on the UP5’s to the command station and booster on Thursday evening, though I’ll definitely have more work cleaning up once a few more bits are finalized. Just need to run power to the panels and all will be good on that front.

And tonight, installed a handful of bullfrogs. I must admit, the install of these things is quite nice compared to tortoii, and can actually be done on ones own! A nice thing happened once the fifth one was installed; all turnouts currently installed now have a positive lock on the points. Might be a bit of a challenge actually changing said points, but still being able to move cars through turnouts without fear of half the car going one way while the other half takes a decidedly different route is a good thing.


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…