Saturday, 15 June 2013

Green Mountain Division Expansion- by Don Janes

A CPR freight train is rolling along the bank of the White River on its way towards the new layout room.  The two lovers in the row boat don't seem too interested in the train....all photos by Don Janes
A New Beginning

     Since George is on the topic of rebuilding his layout I thought I'd throw in my two cents worth about the progress I have made on my new layout room.  As was mentioned back in the spring, I dismantled my original 12 x 20 foot Green Mountain Division layout which dated back to 1990.  This was my first layout and a great learning experience but after having worked on the new section I started about five years ago I realized I had learned a lot about building a layout.  One big lesson was that less track is more and I felt I had way too much track for the space I had on the old layout. I hope to have more scenery and just enough track on the new layout.  Some improvements I want to incorporate are more staging given the number of cars and locomotives I have accumulated over the years, minimum radius of 36" to 40" on the mainline and   #8 turnouts on the main and #6 on other tracks .  Also, I'm getting to old and stiff to be ducking under bench work so the new layout will feature a reverse loop at each end creating a walk-in layout.  This was not my favorite way to plan the layout but with my basement design it's the only way to avoid a bruised back.   Since I had about 85% of the new section done I figured it was time to rip out the old layout and start anew with ideas and techniques I had learned over the past 23 years.  I'm really looking forward to using all the new information I have learned and great new materials available to create a new improved Green Mountain Division.
     I plan to post updates as I progress around the room.  Right now it's down to the basement to lay down some rail.

With the help of Frank Henophy I installed the Masonite backdrop and painted it blue.  Hopefully I will be able to paint some decent clouds on the backdrop to add some realism.  The room has all new lighting installed also.

The first section of bench work has been installed and you can see where the two tracks will enter the new section.  I was able to salvage the  "L" girder framing from the old layout saving a lot of time and work.

The cork roadbed has been added and location for the turnout leading to the three track hidden staging tracks has been established.  Wide curves with easements keep the track work flowing smoothly.

The BAR boxcar in the distance indicates where the staging tracks will begin.  Hopefully they will have a twenty car capacity including two or three locomotives and a caboose.

The two main tracks coming through the wall along with the turnouts  have had wooden ties installed and stained.  I used Fast Tracks wooden "TwistTie" kits for the turnout ties.  The copper clad ties (see photo above) are used to solder the rails to.  This keeps the rail in gauge.  
The ties and turnouts have been installed for the lead to the three hidden staging tracks.  All the hand laid rail will be code 70 and the track to the left beyond the wooden ties will be code 83 flex track.
In the past week I feel like I have made a good start on the new layout.  At this point I will finish the three staging tracks the start to plan the route for the mainline and where various structures and scenes will be placed.  Right now I don't have a formal plan as I usually just wing it as I go and see what will fit in the available space.  Here I have placed one of my structures to see if it will fit in this area.

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