To paraphrase Vane Jones, "Knowledge is of little value until shared with others."

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Westchester Junction Part 2

After installing lighting in your models and layout buildings, the next most attention getting "device" is to have trackside and grade crossing signaling on your layout.

I used the Circuitron BD-2 circuit boards. Circuitron electronic boards allowed me to install a system free of the layout's electrical track circuits. One Circuitron board was required for each block plus the trackside signals. There  is a cost to install trackside signals no matter which electronic system you pick.

If you don't have the funds to do the entire layout, you can start with just one track block. Pick the area of the layout where you are most likely to get the most attention. After you have installed the system as your friends bestow positive comments upon you. start to plan for the next block.

Now back to my newly install home interlocking block signal. The east bound home interlocking signals on my layout can display 4 different combination of aspects.

Green over Green = PROCEED at allowed speed per employee rule book..
Red over Red = ABSOLUTE STOP Only instructions from the dispatcher can over ride the signal.

Green over Red = STOP  The track ahead is clear, however the turnout at the junction is set for the diverging route. An east bound train may be leaving Westchester Station. After waiting for 5 minutes contact the junction tower to see what is going on.
Red over Green = STOP The track ahead may be occupied and the turnout at the junction is set for your route. After waiting for 5 minutes proceed at restricted speed prepared to stop within your view of the track ahead.
My review of the trackside signals on my layout gave me more realistic signals. I hope visitors to my layout will enjoy watching the signals change color more than they have in the past. Now if I can only get the road crossing signals working! There are 3 of them. Maybe next summer when more work will be done on the layout the grade crossings can be made to work. The balance of the year is for model building and re-working older models.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Westchester Junction Part 1

After receiving a number of positive comments about signaling on my layout, I made an executive decision to replace the newly installed single head signal for east bound trains at Westchester Junction with a new home interlocking signal with 2 heads on the mast. The upper head (red and green aspects) is for the track ahead while the lower head (red and green aspects), normally for a diverting route, is for the condition of the junction. 

Another way of saying "condition of the junction" is the red or green aspects will tell if the track turnout is set for through (green) or diverted (red) traffic.

This brings up some interesting set of potential aspect configurations. But before getting into the configurations, here's the installation of the signal.

This is the new signal base held in place using a generic clear "DAP Kiwik Seal". The material comes out white and cures clear.

A machinist square is used to "square-up" the signal mast.
A view down the tracks. The mast leans a little from the tracks. NMRA Clearance Standards are followed for the placement of the signal.

The next morning the adhesive is curing. More adhesive was used than required.
Even though the adhesive has not completely cured, the area is re-ballasted.
The name of the junction is placed on the building. The name was prepared on a computed for the desired size. After being "glued" onto a 0.010" thick of styrene using the clear generic DAP adhesive caulk, the name was covered with clear adhesive tape. The sign was cut out with a razor blade then attached to the building using the caulk.
Here is an over view of the new junction looking east bound with its signals in place.
You may have noticed the 2 electrical heads on the junction building. One pair is for the company telephone while the other pair is for 120 v electricity. The junction building will be receiving telephone and electrical service from the Westchester station.
We'll cover the various light configurations in the next post.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Installation of Elevated Junction Tower

Many years ago a then Chooch, now available through Berkshire Valley, Elevated Crossing Tower was purchased and built. There was never a suitable location on my layout for the building. After installing the new track signals, a potential location started to grow on me. Why not use the tower not for a grade crossing but instead for the junction where the CRT Westchester branch joins the main line? It could be called "Westchester Junction".

But 1st, if you are using signals with miniature light bulbs, getting the same amount of color from like color bulbs may be a problem. You may have to deepen the color of a bulb. Up until recent times most glass bulbs were colored or tinted with clear (You can see through it.) lacquer paint. Within the past couple of years, to make the paint more environmentally friendly, the solvent base has been changed to a water miscible formula. The new "tints" or "stains" as they are called do not color the glass as well as the lacquer base tints.
These are the new glass tints or stains available at Michaels.

The other way to deepen the color of a glass bulb is to use a Stanford's permanent marker of the same color. I hope they are still made with a lacquer based tint. Also, I don't know if a yellow marker is made. However, if you have to use the new water miscible tints there is a way to use them and still get reasonably good results. After dipping your brush in the tint, wait about a minute or so before applying the tint on the glass bulb. The stain will dry a little before application. You may have to apply more stain after the 1st coating dries.

Other ways to get all the aspects to have the same color concentration is to use LED's instead of bulbs or better yet use new Keil-Line signals. They come with plastic lenses for the aspects. The colors are almost guaranteed.

After the installation of the elevated tower was complete, standing there admiring my work, the thought came to me the tower was controlling an important point on the layout called "Westchester Junction". Should the signals at the west and east of the Junction be part of the automatic block system or home signals controlling the Junction?
Suitable signs still have to be made and mounted for "Westchester Junction".
James Bond in a Toyota 2000GT Open-Top model, driven by his girlfriend Aki, is trying to escape from Blofeld in "You Only Live Twice". Bob the watchman is holding them for an approaching train.

The beauty of the matter is, it's a hobby. There are other trolley modeling items to take care of. The question of the signals can be answered and fixed if necessary later!