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

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Working on the 2 End Loop Modules - Part 2

The 2 end modules were assembled together for the installation of track, overhead wire, and electrical gear. There are at least 2 different sets of instructional videos on the building of O scale track including turnouts on YouTube. For this reason I will not be spending much time on this. Instead unusual items will be mentioned.

The open track module will be worked on 1st. This is the farthest west module of the layout called the  "Zoo Return Loop". It's been about 15 years since I last built track and turnouts. I wanted to built the trailing turnout before tackling the traffic facing turnout.

As much as possible straight track was to be flex-track. From experience I knew bending flex track around a 14" radius loop would be hard to do. This loop would require handlaid track.

I knew when the cork roadbed would be laid, the centerline and rail lines would be obscured. But, I have an answer for this which will be covered as the track is laid..

The other item before I forget, I've always built turnouts in place. I don't like to prebuild the turnout and then transfer it to the location where it is to be used.

Also, you'll notice although cork roadbed is used, the cork for turnouts is not used. The regular cork roadbed is used through out the layout. This is because the retention of the  pencil (ballpoint) drawn midline of the track is important to retain.

Lastly, always install the curve(s) 1st and keep them intact as other parts (cork roadbed, rail, etc.) are installed. You'll see this with the cork roadbed and then any ties and rail later.

Those who saw my layout on the 2nd floor of the garage will remember the cork roadbed was doubled-up - one layer upon the other. The prototype for that layout was a mainline railroad where the actual track was often 12 inches or more above grade. The prototype for this layout is a trolley - streetcar line.

Starting at the connection of the 2 modules, glue and tack in place 1 of the 2 cork strips necessary for the west bound track . Keep the center flat faced part of the cork strip on the centerline.

Follow the centerline through the facing turnout and around the the loop. At the ends of the cork strip use 2  tacks or small nails.  Continue gluing and tacking the 1 piece of cork roadbed  around the loop through where the crossing and trailing turnouts are to be located. Continue on the east bound portion of the track back to where the 2 modules connect.
The pliers with the green handles are special. Notice the cutout portion of the tips. These pliers are to be used to hold small nails, brads, etc. during nailing.

When this is done install the pieces of cork making up the 2nd half of the roadbed. Now the balance of the roadbed can be installed. A sharp razor blade will help to cut the cork as needed. The centerline of all the curves and loops can be seen as well as all of the straight track!

Glue in any required filler material. Allow the glue to dry prior to starting the next part.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Working on the 2 End Loop Modules - Part 1

If you've read the info on the EPTC web site regarding their modules and/or if you've seen the modules in action, you are aware of the built-in control of models operating on the modules. Through simple model detection electrical circuitry sections of track can be turned off in back of a model. Models will stop and start on their own.

At the last EPTC Meet the 2 models I brought to operate on the modules had problems. They were set up for pole reverse plus the ability to operate on 2-rail. This meant the track detection system used in the EPTC modules placed an additional electrical current through the motors.

To be able to operate all of my models on my new layout, the EPTC model detection system of operation cannot be used. I'll have to come up with some other simple plan. As for now a 1 or 2 operator plan will have to do for now.

The other item which came up is the number of different profiles there were for the code 125 rail I had left from prior layouts. My collection of code 125 rail goes back to the early 1970's. There were perhaps 5 or 6 different widths of the head, web, and/or base of the rail. However, the height of the rail was always 0.125".

The rail with the widest head and base was reserved for the modules with tract in the street. Some of this rail looks like it's steel. It looks like it has rust.

My son helped with the assembly of the 2 end modules. Actually, he built the 2 end modules with dad's (my) assistance! It was something to watch him work. I was proud he is my son. He had worked as a finishing carpenter plus he built cabinets from plans unique to the area into which they would be installed. Since much of the work was done in the Frank Lloyd Wright homes in Oak Park and River Forest, IL; his work was spot on!

Here's the room for the new layout prior to any work being started.

These are the modules assembled into a layout prior to the addidion of the track. The legs are 3/4" plywood 16" x 36" high. EPTC shows how the center of the leg pieces can be cut out to reduce weight. We plan to work on the legs later.
The modules are at different heights due to the difference in how the track will be built. The module on the right is the open track built on a cork roadbed with prototypical ties. The module on the left will have the rail installed on thinner "brass" ties. The rail has to match-up at the joint of the modules.

In the photos the location of the track can be seen. The center line plus the location of the 2 rails are included.

To draw the radius for the loop a large trammel was made from a piece of basswood 1/4" x 3/4". Holes were drilled for a nail and for a pencil to fit through. The holes for the pencil were at the midpoint of the radius. Two additional holes were drilled 5/8" from the center point of the track. This is where the rail are to be located.

In the top photo 6 holes for a pencil are shown. One set of 3 holes is for a 13" radius while the other 3 holes are for a 14" radius. The holes are labeled for identification. The bottom photo shows the nail used as the center point. If you look carefully the hole in the module top can be seen.

After seeing the modules and the space available around the loops. I decided to increase the radius of the loop from 13" to 14". Information from Old Pullman, now out of business, stated #3 frogs turnouts had a radius of 15".

The 14" radius will make it easier to fit the #3 frog turnout together. Plus, the increased radius will allow more models to operate around the loops.

This is a drawing of the trailing #3 turnout plus the crossing to bring the cars back on the opposite track. The dark mark in the upper left corner is what remains from a staple used to assemble the module after it was cut off with a cut-off wheel. My son used staples instead of nails.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Paul J. Mayer (Shoreline Decals) 1935 - 2016

Paul Mayer the owner of Shoreline Decals passed away. Many of you, especially if you modeled in HO, may have obtained decals for your trolleys from Paul over the years.

Paul was great. For the decals he did not have ready made for sale, if  you could give him either art-work, photos, and/or dimensions of the decals, he would either make the decals himself or have them made for you. He was not able to make decals in either gold or silver.

Paul's latest venture was an HO model of a 3-D printed CSL Sedan. It was a beautiful model.

Outside of the business end of the hobby, Paul was a congenial, friendly fellow with a sharp sense of humor. He was always a joy with which to have a conversation.

I was especially pleased to have long discussions with him regarding the business side of the trolley modeling hobby. He was always spot on with his observations and comments.

As an O scale trolley modeler in need of decals for my models, he was a fantastic resource. Without his decals most of my models would remain unfinished. I sure the same can be said of many trolley modelers in the Midwest and perhaps in other places.

Paul, from all your friends in Chicago, Thank You and may all the lights be green!