On30 Narrow Gauge

On30 Narrow Gauge

Monday, October 19, 2015


Hi Folks - Summer has passed me by and it is time to start working on the layout once again. I did manage to do some small projects on the layout over the summer, but I ended up having significantly more outdoor jobs to do than I had originally anticipated at the beginning of the summer and as a result,  layout work was at the bottom end of the list. This past weekend, our modular group attended a local show and once again we were very well received. We had a new 180 degree U loop consisting of 4 new modules on display and it makes a huge difference in the amount of flexibility in layout designs that can be developed for shows. I also received my 2 Bachmann Whitcombs back from our resident expert who did a superb job on decaling and weathering the 2 locomotives- thanks again Dave! The brewery structure on my layout is nearing completion and I will post a picture in the near future. Till next time....

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

First Run

Hi folks, This past week saw the completion of track laying and adding the feeder wires to supply power to the rails. I added feeder wires on each side of all turnouts so that the unpowered frogs of the Micro Engineering turnouts would not be an issue. As I am using DCC, there is no need to use the power routing feature of the turnouts either. I ran a couple of trains as a general test of my installation and must say I was please as I only had one minor issue that was quickly overcome. As the weather has started to take a turn for the better (finally!!!), I will be taking some time to think more about the scenic elements that I want to use on this small layout as well as starting to work on another structure kit that I will be using on the layout - on that note, the brewery is 90 % complete and just needs its loading dock added. As it  is generally a small switching layout, the scenic features will be fairly simple. Here's a short video of one of the first trains to run  - the loco is one of my new Bachmann Whitcomb switchers which I totally love. Till next time

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Track Time

Hi Folks:
I have been working on trackage these last couple of weeks ( albeit at a slow pace). My track and turnouts are by  Micro Engineering  - code 83 On30 narrow gauge track. Although I could have used HO scale track, I decided to go with the ME On30 track, as it looks better with the correct tie spacing and was designed to be used with On30 narrow gauge.. That being said, I found it a bit more challenging to use this track as I found it more delicate than the old PECO turnout  Atlas flex track combo I used on my old HO scale layout. On top of the track and turnouts being more delicate , the ME

rail joiners are much more difficult to install and you really have to be careful not to damage the track (and turnouts ) when installing them - don't ask me how I know. I found a method on the web that aids in installing these little rascals. You really have to prepare both the rail joiner and also file the receiving rail slightly in order to get them to connect successfully. In this weeks photo , you can see that the track and turnouts are only temporarily installed and held down with push tacks. What I will do next is to mark the track centerlines and then remove the trackage in sections. N scale cork roadbed will then be installed - I decided to go with the N Scale roadbed at the suggestion of a fellow On30 modeller who used it on his home layout. I really think the low profile looks good with On30. Once I have the roadbed installed, I will paint my track using a dark brown camo type paint - again I found this idea on the web and it seems to be getting used a lot and it looks really good from the pictures I have seen. Once all the track is painted, it will be reinstalled permanently. The next step after that will of course be the wiring. So on that note, time to get busy......till next time.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Power and Control

Hi Folks: Progress has slowed a bit these past few weeks (too busy shoveling snow   ugh!!).  I have painted the front fascia and spent some time running the DCC power bus and the control bus wiring. The decision was made to reuse my Lenz DCC system from my previous layout, both from a cost perspective and also due to the fact that shortly before putting the unit in storage back in 2011, I had both the command station and my LH 100 throttle updated to version 3.6 of the software (which is still the current Lenz version). My LH 90 is still at a version 3.5, and I may send that in shortly to be updated, however even at 3.5 it does everything that I require it to do. For the power bus on the layout, I decided to go with 14 gauge stranded wire that I bought at an auto parts store for a reasonable price. The power bus goes from one end of the layout to the other and is terminated at each end using simple terminal blocks. When it comes time to wire track, I will be using 22 gauge solid core wire, soldered to the rails approx. at ~ 3 foot intervals and connected to the power bus using insulation displacement (aka suitcase) type connectors. This is slightly heavier wire than needed for feeder wires, however, I had an abundance of it available.  As mentioned in one of my previous posts, I have elected to install a DCC specialities PSX 1 circuit breaker , due to the fact that most of my locos including my 2 new Bachmann Whitcombs are Tsunami equipped and having this piece of circuitry will allow them to recover better should a short occur. The DCC control bus is a simple affair with one RJ type cable extending from the Lenz LZV 100 command station to a single fascia mounted control panel located in the middle of the layout. I placed it so that I could reach either end of the layout while remaining plugged in. Also installed was a DCC specialities programming booster which will be connected to one of the sidings

via a double pole toggle switch to act as the programming track. I tried to keep all the wiring under the layout as neat as possible by cutting circular holes in the bench work to act as passageways for the cabling. I also utilized cable clamps, terminal blocks and wire ties to keep everything neat. The command station, power supply, and programming booster are all mounted on a small shelf  under the layout that is easily accessible, but keeping everything out of site. Till next time......

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Benchwork and Backdrop

Hi folks. Its been a busy time on the new layout build these last few days and I have my bench work almost complete. The frame was made of 1X4's and 1X3's and covered with 1/2 inch plywood and 2 inch insulation foam. The front fascia has been added and is ready to have the holes cut for the Lenz throttle panel as well as a DCC RampMeter (Tony's Train exchange). This will then be painted a dark forest green color.  A small shelf was added to the slotted track system underneath the layout to hold the Lenz Command station and transformer as well as the DCC Specialities PowerPax    http://www.dccspecialties.com/products/powerpax.htm  which is used to program sound equipped locomotives. I will also be adding a DCC Specialities PSX1 circuit breaker http://www.dccspecialties.com/products/powershield_x_pics.htm at the suggestion of Doug W. Even though the layout is small, and the Lenz DCC command station has a built in circuit breaker, this will just add another layer of protection for the command station. My wife volunteered to paint the backdrop (after I had primed it) and I must admit it turned out pretty nice. It is a simple sky scene. I may add photo backdrops down the road. I have also been working on some structures these past few weeks as well, so I have been busy. I hope to start the track laying and wiring soon and will give another update at that point. Till next time.....

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Building has commenced

Hi Folks. Today I attached the Rubbermaid track shelf system ( that I purchased at my local Home Depot) to the walls of the room as my first step in construction. It was a relatively simple process, with attention being paid to ensuring the uprights were as level (both horizontally and vertically) as possible. I have determined that my rail height will be 51 inches from the floor. This was necessary due to the light switch that will be at one end of the layout, that I must maintain access to. I kept one of my On30 cars and a piece of flex track close by, so that as I put each new piece of slot track up, I could check to ensure that it was as level as possible and that a car didn't coast by itself - this was my indicator to check on my accuracy. So far so good. Next step will be to build the frame.....till next time.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

So whats a couple of years....

Hi folks: I have decide to try and get active again with this blog , in light if the fact that I am about to start building a layout again after an almost 4 year hiatus of not having a layout. I have recently purchased a new track planning software called Any Rail 5 https://www.anyrail.com/index_en.html and have been playing around with that and have developed the starting point of a small shelf type layout, that could in the future be expanded. I have come to realize that having any layout, even a small layout will be better than not having any at all. The new layout will be built in the same room as my old previous HO scale layout described earlier in this blog, however the room still has to function as a family recreation room as well. Here is a picture of the beginning point of my build. I will be total concentrating on this small area for the next couple of years and will bring that to a high level of completion before deciding to continue in this room or not. It will give me an area to run some of my On30 equipment as well as get building once again.... I am looking forward to getting started. Hope you follow along.