Tuesday, March 22, 2022

You Didn't Miss Me at All, Did You...

Well, after not publishing anything for a while, I decided to write up what I have been working on.

First, the turntable project has been given a lot of thought but not much action. The pit issue may have been resolved when I followed up on a method used by Bill Schneider of Rapido in a presentation he made on his OW&N layout on a Hindsight 2020 Zoom clinic. He used a 10 inch MDF speaker ring with bezel mounting spacer recessed.  So I ordered a pair (they only came in pairs) for $18 from Amazon and have been playing around at how to finish the pit ever since.  The 10 inch inside dimension diameter scales out to 73 feet instead of the 70 foot for the Port Costa turntable. But the Banta model of the Port Costa roundhouse track spacing was built to use the 75 foot Diamond Scale turntable so I am closer to that and will have to fudge less.

These is a photo of an earlier 70 foot turntable bridge attempt being used to play around with the speaker ring as a turntable pit:

The white plastic circular insert covering the bezel is an attempt to build out a larger inside ring for the turntable support rail.  A new scratchbuilt bridge will have to be rebuilt. I bought a Sterling cast pot metal turntable kit a several years ago for a much deeper D&RGW prototype when I first started Port Costa. The main bridge support seen at the center of the second photo may yet be used. 

A few weeks ago I figured out I needed some different Peco Code 83 turnouts to make the SP mainline track plan at the west end of the layout work.  These have arrived and I have just fitted them into the west end curve. This morning I wired them and tested them with both locomotives and some freight cars. 

There is a short ramped section on a curve (ouch) to the level of the mainline trackage. Thus far I have tested the two Alco switchers and the M-4 2-6-0 and the three work fine over this bit of nasty trackage. It is a lead off the mainline into the Port Costa yard and engine stabling area so no passenger engines or cars are expected to traverse the sharp 20 inch curve on a grade. Right now bits of a plastic wedge are being used to support the grade.  This area "off scene" and is not going to be "scenicked" but I do want a more resilient support for the trackage.

The mogul is sitting on the Eastbound SP main just before a right hand curve turnout.  The mainline curve continues into another right hand curve turnout and left hand #6 forming a crossover to the Westbound main. Beyond that is a siding along the mains next to the Carquinez strait and some stub trackage where the old ferry terminal to Benicia used to be located. The foreground will be occupied by the hill with the water tank. 

For the turnout into the compact storage and staging freight yard I had to use a 18"/20" radius left hand Peco Set Track turnout. Not elegant but it works. I did some shimming to adjust for the Code 83 to Code 100 height transition and then back to Cod3 83. 

You can't see it well with the low resolution but the metal pencil shaped object is a thin Xacto knife holder with a Proxa brush dental cleaner that was discussed recently on the Model Railroad Hobbyist forum as an uncoupler tool for Kadee couplers.  I found a pack of the brushes on sale at a Safeway and tried it out. It actually works separating the cars with minimal movement or hand intervention.

January 2022 Layout Progress

I left this in draft since January 30. No wonder I have nobody reading this blog.

Well  basically, there has been little progress on the layout in the last few months. I did some design work on the turntable pit and bridge but little has happened to the layout which remains the same. 

Note the lineup of steam locomotives on the service track (water/bunker oil.) I am still waiting for the Owl Mountain Harriman Stand-In parts to add to the lineup. I have another Bachmann 2-8-0 to convert and parts to fix the second Mehano M-4. I have little hopes for another brass C-9 or C-10 as the only ones coming to the market lately have been unpainted 1970's models that would require complete rebuilding to work in a DCC/LocoFi control environment. 
I have yet to fix the roof on the section house or do anything better with the trees and ground cover. 

On the control experimental side, the pre-ordered LocoFi new Gen 3 chips that will be able to support steam sound and control features have arrived. I am waiting for some better information on new developments in stay alive/products before performing any more conversions. One thing that has happened is I have found how easy it is to build and load sound packages for the LocoFi  control module.