Wednesday 17 July 2013

Green Mountain Division Expansion - Don Janes

Two freight trains are tucked away in two of the three staging tracks I recently completed. Note the smooth flowing lines of the curved by Don Janes

Staging Tracks Complete

     Since my last post I have built five turnouts and finished installing the three long staging track along the north wall of the layout.  The two inside tracks will hold a total of twenty cars, including locomotives and caboose and the one along the wall about twenty five cars.  I could also stage two shorter trains in one track. To get the most out of my available space I decided I would need to build curved turnouts leading to and at each end of the staging tracks.  I have been using Fast Tracks products for quite a long time and decided to use their Twist Tie turnout tie sections for all the curved turnouts.  These sections are designed to be flexible and bent to fit your track arrangement.  They have pre-drilled spike holes and laser cut scribed lines where the rails are to be placed making scratch building turnouts a dream.  They come in several different frog angles for both right and left turnouts.  For this project I used two # 8 right hand, one # 8 left hand and one each of # 7 right and left hand tie sections.  The resulting track work is smooth flowing and extremely reliable.  Check out the Fast Tracks web site for their complete product line.
     Once all the turnouts and track were installed I added Tortoise switch motors.  The main power bus is #14 solid copper wire.(14-2 house wire)  I dropped down smaller gauge track feeder wires at about four foot intervals to keep a good electrical flow to the track.  For years I have seen articles about using "suitcase connectors" for connecting feeders wires to the main track bus wires but this is the first time I have tried using them.  Let me tell you, they are great.  Fast and clean. No more crawling around under the layout soldering feeders while laying on my back.  I would highly recommend these to anyone doing any track wiring.  I bought mine from Micro Mark but they can be purchased at numerous places including Princess Auto.
     After all the wiring was done I built a temporary control panel for the switch machine switches so I could test run the trains through all the turnouts and staging tracks.  Everything seems to work as planned so now its on to designing the rest of the layout track plan.  
Here is an example of Fast Tracks "Twist Ties"  The lower one shows how they come from Fast Tracks and the upper one shows how the ties can be curved to fit a specific location.  Note also the pre-drilled spike holes and scribed lines where the rails go.  These examples are #6 right and left hand turnout tie sections.

These are the turnouts just after the track enters the new room.  The turnout on the right is for a future spur track and the one on the left leads to the new staging tracks
Here we see the opposite end of the staging tracks with a #8 right hand turnout.

I have started using "suitcase connectors" for my drop down track feeders and Tortiose switch motors.  These make wiring a dream. 

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