The Union Pacific Soggy Bottoms Division (HO scale)

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flyboy2610

Loveably weird
I put the lift out section into place last night. I've been wanting to replace the track that was taken up when the bridge had to be rebuilt. Maybe it's just the summer weather (although the basement is climate controlled), but it was kind of a hassle getting everything lined up correctly. I started thinking about damage to the scenery if I have to go through this every time I want to run trains. I decided that the lift out would become a permanent part of the layout. That would make it a duck under. However, at 56 I don't duck under anything as well as I used to!
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The solution is a rolling mechanics seat I happen to own. Sit on this, bend over, and roll right under the duck (roll) under. It works good! The only thing is that it's seen its share of car repair jobs, and it isn't the cleanest. When the budget is a little more flexible, I'll get another one and this one will go back out to the shed. But for now it will suffice.
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My plan is to reattach the tracks, finish wiring the mains to the power bus, then start work on the industrial area. That last part made Mater happy!
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Mater: "Ooh, wee! Did y'all hear that? He's gonna start on this area before too long! This here'll be the best goll dang Rust-Eze Medicated Bumper Ointment factory in the whole state of Nubrasky!"
Luigi: "Mater, this 'a going to be the only Rust-Eze Medicated Bumper Ointment factory in the whole state of Nebraska!"
Mater: "Well, then that autmaticly makes it the best, don't it?!"
Luigi: "Mater, you gotta point. I'm 'a no sure what it is, but you gotta point."
From left to right are: Guido, the forklift; Mater, the country bumpkin tow truck who has a heart of gold and a brain made of the same substance: and Luigi, owner of the finest tire store in Radiator Springs. From Disney's "Cars".
These three would all be appropriately sized for O scale, but they're far too big for HO. I have an HO scale Fiat 500, which will become Luigi. I don't know WHAT I would do for Mater! Guido is most likely going to be a custom build. I may use some round styrene tubing of a couple of different sizes, and some thin styrene sheet for the sides, but I'll worry about that when I get that far.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Did some more work on the roll-under section. I fitted the 4 short lengths of track go from the bridge to the rest of the layout, 2 on each end.
I find that new rail joiners can be rather difficult to slide onto track that already glued down. What I like to do is slide the rail joiner onto a piece of flex track where the sliding rail is extended out by an inch or so. This loosens up the joiner a bit. It also allows me to use my small hobby file and remove the little burr that can be present on the bottom of the rail joiner after the joiners have been cut apart.
Here's a joiner on the flex track:
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If you look closely you can see the little burrs on the ends.
After filing the burrs off with my small hobby file:
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The rails that run across the bridge are from some flex track. I started sliding it into the tie plates on one end and slid it through all the tie plates on both bridges. There is no joint between the bridges. I cut the rails long enough to be able to slide the rail joiners onto the rails, and be back behind the cut.
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On the opposite side, I remove the tie plates from one tie on each side of the joint, then cut a little groove into the tie for the rail joiner. Actually, I only had to remove the tie plates from both sides of the joint on the north end of the bridge, On the south end, I have a re-railer on each track just before the bridge.
I slid the track into place and cut the bridge end of the track to fit the track already on the bridge. Once the track was the proper length, I slid the pre-positioned rail joiners into place, then soldered the joints.
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The roll-under with all the track in place:
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On the north end I had to remove two ties on either side of the joint. This left a gap of un-secured track larger than I was comfortable with.
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I made a trip to Randy's Roundhouse. Once again, he had what I needed! I bought a package of Micro Engineering HO scale track spikes 3/8" long. I drilled some holes through the ties and, Using the alignment gauge you see in the pic, spiked the track back into secure alignment.

A ground level view of the south side:
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I need to re-connect the feeders under this area, then I can move on to something else.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Well, it's been too long coming, but the trains are finally rolling on the UP's Soggy Bottoms Division! I spent most of the weekend getting the track on the bridges reattached, and also spent time running power to the remainder of the mainline and passenger siding that hadn't been hooked up yet. Then I got out my best rolling stock and hooked up the Milwaukee Road SD45 ($80 at a train show that my then 10 year old son just HAD to have!). I turned on the Power Cab, called up the locomotive's number, and (to paraphrase Scotty from Star Trek IV) "Captain, there be trains here!"
I started out with about 15 cars, including the caboose. I just kept adding to the train until the locomotive couldn't start the train without a push from the hand of God. It got up to 26 cars before needing a push. I don't think that's too bad
All the cars in this pic, except for the blue and gray covered hopper in the upper right, were pulled by this one locomotive.
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There are 4 cars hidden behind the cut with the caboose on it. I'm not sure about weight, wheel material, or free-rolling status on all these cars. I'll have to pull them all off the layout and check them one by one.
Here's my double crossover:
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The foreground track is the mainline. The track just above it, from the crossover and going right, is the siding to the passenger station. From the crossover going left it leads to the yard. I took the train through the crossover going straight on the mainline, taking the passenger siding, and backed cars through the crossover both directions. No derailments! :)

Here's the locomotive that made the maiden runs:
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It did a nice job!
My next task, on the layout, will be to wire the turnouts in the industrial area. Mater will be happy about that.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
I got the tracks laid down and the ground throws installed in the industrial area. My original plan was to power all the turnout frogs. I have decided to leave the frogs unpowered at this time. If I decide I need to power them, I can go back and do that without pulling up the turnouts because I have already run a wire to the frog. I still need to install a powered ground throw on that #8 turnout. You can see the red and white wires. The power wire to the frog is fed down its hole in the table. Everything in this area now has a ground throw and they all work properly.
I decided to re-configure the Rust-Eze Medicated Bumper Ointment factory. The main reason for doing this was to be able to lengthen the pull-back track from the run around section. The boxcar next to the factory is sitting on the pull-back track. As it was, with the factory in the corner, I couldn't get the pull-back track long enough for a switcher and two boxcars. So I moved the factory to the left, and that gave me the room I needed. I also gave the factory one more track. The one that the covered hopper is sitting on was originally outside the left wall of the factory. Now it will be for the hopper cars. There will be a divider between the hopper bay, and shipping and receiving which is where the two boxcars are. I needed a box 9x10x4 to mock this up, and an old flat rate shipping box was just about perfect. I think the doorways are a little too high, though, so I'll probably cut down the base a bit. The office area will be on top, though it won't be that high, maybe two stories.
Mater is just all giddy with excitement! I'm thinking he may stay on the layout, but Luigi and Guido are just too far oversized. I have an HO Fiat 500, and I plan to turn that into Luigi. Guido is going to be a custom build, though.
After I increased the length of the pull-back track, I shifted it to the left. It now comes alongside the right wall of the factory. That gave me room to shift the siding to Rusty I. Beams Salvage Yard to the left, and gave more room along the wall for his operation. I may put something back there in the corner, yet.
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The next project is going to be the yard. There will be a whole bunch of turnouts, plus one wye, in that project! I intend to trim the turnouts (all of them will be #4's) to space them closer together. The yard lead will be an 18" radius curve. I had really wanted it to be 22" radius, but that geometry just won't work! :(:mad:
Ya does what ya gots to!
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Thanks, Mike! I saw a YouTube video where a guy basically glued sheet stock to wooden blocks to get his structures. I may do the same with this building: mock it up with boxes, then glue styrene sheets to them. It would make an easy way to make buildings.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
I started working on the yard tracks today, although I haven't gotten anything actually installed yet. Basically, how the yard will be set up is that due to space limitations, which most of us must deal with, the yard has to be stub ended. I would love to be able to have a nice large double diamond yard, but that's just not feasible. The lead down to the service tracks is 22" radius, which will handle anything on the layout, but the lead to the yard is only 18" radius. I wanted it to be 22" as well, but there was just no way to make that geometry work. The lead to the service tracks begins on the diverging leg of a #8 left hand turnout, and the yard lead will begin on the straight leg.
In this pic, the turnout is at center right. The service lead is the bottom-most track. The yard lead will go where the dotted line is. The track just visible at center left is the end of a wye.
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Here is an overview pic. The service tracks are the two in front of the water tower and coaling tower. I still need to come up with a diesel fueling area. The yard is behind them. One leg of the wye will lead to the yard ladder, and the other will have a #4 right turnout where the cars will be assembled for an outbound train. The 18" radius yard lead will allow room to pull cars off the yard tracks and move them as needed. Since everything is stub-ended, there is no need for a run-around track.
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This is the end of the wye. The yard lead will be attached to the right side, following the dots to give the 18" radius.
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Here is a view of the end of the yard ladder. Yes, I know there isn't going to be much room at the end of those two tracks! I get that, OK? I'm thinking that will be where the cabeese are stored. When I actually start laying down the yard tracks, I will start at this end. I am going to use 1/3 sections of 18" radius Atlas code 100 sectional track (heresy, I know) to pull the yard tracks back into parallel alignment with the yard ladder. I'm going for 2" spacing on the yard tracks, makes it a bit easier to get my fingers in there if needed, and also to see which car is where.
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The problem with that idea is that if I put the 1/3 18" track immediately on the diverging leg of the turnout, I will very quickly have a real bad clearance problem. As you can see here, the issue arises very quickly. Management does not like it when boxcars sideswipe each other.
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Another view of the problem:
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So what I am going to do is start laying the yard tracks from the far end. That track can have the 1/3 section immediately on the diverging leg. The track before that will have to have a short section of straight track on the diverging leg, then the 1/3 section. The track before that will have to have a slightly longer section of straight track on the diverging leg, then the 1/3 section, and so on up the ladder. The straight sections will probably be cut from flex track. The #4 right hand turnout on the wye will be the last one laid down. I plan to trim 3-4 ties from each turnout off of the the straight leg past the frog. This will gain me a little bit of length down the ladder.
Here is a prototype photo of what I plan to do:
Yard ladder.jpg


Notice how the track that the blue hopper is on has the turnout, a short straight section, then the track curves back to the left. That's my plan.
In this pic, notice the leftmost track. Just about where the water tower is I plan to install a right hand turnout, probably a #8. The diverging route will be facing me in this pic. I will install an extension to the table, then a siding on the extension. This will be where my rotary plow (I need to get back to that project one of theses days) will be.
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The plow and its tender need to be on a facing point siding, like this one:
UP Rotary Plow 076.jpg


The reason for that is because the plow and tender are pushed ahead of the locomotive, so the locomotive has to be able to get behind it.
All the #4 turnouts will have a power wire installed on the frog, and so will the wye. These will not be powered at this point in time, but if I feel I need to in the future, the wire is already there, so they will not have to be taken up again.
This could turn out to be a rather involved project, but it will be worth it when it's done!
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
I jumper wired the wye coming off the yard lead this evening. I've never done this to an Atlas turnout before. Doing the #4's may be a bit more problematic as there is very limited space between the point rails and the stock rails. There is more room on a wye. I will jumper between the stock rails and the rails before the frog, however.
Here is the jumper wire between the frog rails and the point rails. I have some solid 3 conductor wire that is very thin, just perfect for this job!
Side 1:
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Side 2:
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The jumper wires between the stock and frog rails: (The tie got a little warm. :oops: )
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I have a Weller WLC100 soldering station. I used a small pencil tip I bought for converting 72MHZ RC airplane transmitters to 2.4GHZ. It's really handy for tight jobs like this!
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On the blue towel, the coil looking thing is the solder I used, and just to left of that is the chisel tip that is usually in this iron. I don't like to keep this tip in the iron as I don't want it to get damaged.
I have read that the point rails can be removed from the throw-bar by removing the end from the throw-bar, but one thing I do is to put 1 drop of CA GEL, not thin CA, in that hole to keep the point rails from coming out on their own. This has already been done to all the turnouts, so I'm thinking the frog to point rail jumper won't be installed on the #4's in the yard. I won't have to worry about electrical conductivity issues with the wye, though!
 
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wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Impressive soldering and wiring flyboy and am sure the tips you use help a great deal, I know the fine tips I use make things easier and give a better, cleaner result.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Thanks, Tony! I still want to try and clean up the joints on the frog and point rails a little more, just for appearances sake. The jumpers on the bottom will never be seen, so they are what they are. I find it easier to do finer joints like this if I put a little solder on the tip, then apply the solder to the spot it needs to go on. Then I'll place the wire on the solder and reheat the solder, attaching the wire to the joint. Hemostats or reverse action tweezers help a lot here, as well.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
"I've been workin' on the raaaail rooooad!"
"Hey, quithcer singin'! We've got work to do here!"
OK, enough of that.
I got the yard ladder laid down. You may notice that it is not ruler straight. That is intentional. Somehow, things being perfectly aligned just seems artificial to me. I read somewhere that in many places in the Far East, a house is intentionally built with some feature imperfect or unfinished, such as a corner that isn't perfectly square. The reason for this is because the world is not perfect, and if the home was perfect it would be out of harmony with the world, and bring bad luck. Whether this is true or not, I don't know, but it's something I read somewhere. So my yard is in harmony with the world, and will bring good luck. I hope.
The two tracks at the far left will be caboose tracks. I will only have two or three on the layout, and I need to keep those not in use somewhere! I recall reading something about a 1/3 18" radius track piece bringing a diverging track back to parallel with the straight track on a #4 turnout. Well....... it doesn't. In this pic, I have a 1/3 18" radius track section following a 2" straight piece. All the track ends butt up to each other, and as you can see the right side track is NOT parallel with the left side track. The 2" straight is used to give a 2" track spacing.
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I substituted a 1/2 18" radius piece, and the tracks were brought back to parallel.
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Then came the fun part. I started mocking up the next couple of track up the ladder, and quickly realized that the further back I came on the ladder, the longer the straight section between the diverging leg of the turnout and the 1/2 18" radius piece needed to be. A bit of basic math soon revealed that in order to make a 6 track yard in such a configuration would require more real estate to the right than I had available, even if I cut the track spacing back to 1-1/2", which is getting pretty tight. And even then you need to allow for the swing of a cars overhang on the curved section. It soon became obvious that my original plan was not viable. If I had 15 feet of space available for my yard tracks, I could do it, but not in my current situation. :(
When I originally designed this layout, I designed the yard with the classification tracks going right off the diverging leg. I didn't really like that design, but in the end, I think that's what I'm going to have to go with. (The track plan shown in post #1 is a later modification.) The two caboose tracks will still be laid out parallel to each other, because I find that more aesthetically pleasing than the two of them fanning out from each other.
In this pic, the classification tracks are just mocked up with some sections of flex track. Nothing is fastened down, and the tracks are not joined to the turnouts, just laying there. The classification tracks will be made from flex track, though. Less joints to deal with that way. The two tracks on the right will be where outbound trains are staged. I don't have room for a true arrival/departure track. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do! Knowhutimean, Vern?
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The tracks are on 2" centers, which should make handling the cars easier. May be someday I can take over the entire basement, and do it RIGHT! :D
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
I did some measuring and dry fitting of the longest sections of flex track I have. I can do all the tracks in the yard with no more than one joint in the track, except for the longest piece. To do that with what I have would require joining three pieces of flex track, so I guess I get to go to Randy's Roundhouse tomorrow after work! Oh, I am so heartbroken! ;)
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
I've been plugging away at the yard for the past several days, trying to accomplish a little bit every afternoon. Except for extending the locomotive service tracks and building a siding for the rotary plow, I am done laying track for the time being! :D
It's taken a lot longer to get to this point than I would have liked, but I finally made it!
The yard ladder and classification tracks are glued (and temporarily nailed) down. The arrival/departure track is in place, and all the ground throws are in place and working. The original plan was to power the frog on all turnouts on the layout. As of now, the frogs on the #6's and #8's are powered. I decided not to power the frogs on the #4's at this time, but I did install a feeder wire to all the frogs before installing them. That way, if I decide later that the frogs need to be powered, I can do so without having to pull out the turnout. I would install powered ground throws at that time. I'll run trains for a while and see what happens.
Here's an overview pic of the leads into the yard and engine service tracks:
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The Rust-Eze Medicated Bumper Ointment plant is in the upper right. Luigi got his bumper in the pic. From the bottom, the tracks are:
1. The engine service track lead. This is a 24" radius track, so there should be no problems getting any locomotive in for service.
2. The yard lead. This is an 18" radius track. I would greatly have preferred 22" or 24" radius, but there just wasn't a way to make that work. The first turnout on the yard lead diverges to the A/D track, which itself is split into two tracks. Lousy space limitations! :mad:
3. The 24" radius main line.
4 and 5: These two tracks will probably be used during industrial switching as staging tracks both for set-outs and pick-ups. #5 is also my programming track.
The yard itself. The left most 2 tracks at the end of the ladder are going to be for storing cabooses (cabeese?). Next to them are the 5 classification tracks, and the two tracks making up the A/D tracks are to the right of the classification tracks.
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Note that the classification tracks all have the ground throws on the outside of the ladder. This lets the switchman throw the turnout without having to cross an active track. The A/D track couldn't be helped.
I need to build an extension onto the benchwork a few inches out in this area. This will be the siding for the rotary plow. A #6 right hand turnout will be installed in the track with the points about where the far end of the coal tower is. I will install another piece of Masonite back where the re-railer is, and another re-railer will be installed next to it on the engine service track. I will make a grade crossing there. The town will be to the left.



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I will probably hold off building the extension until I am done scenicking this corner, as the extension will cut down my reach. I plan to build a low hill from 2-3 layers of 2" extruded foam for the area between the main and the spur. I have a tunnel portal that I think I will hot glue to wall back there. I'll paint the wall inside the portal black. The spur will be electrically isolated, but will have feeders installed, one of which will be on a switch so it can be powered if needed. I don't like the reach issue, but not much I can do!
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flyboy2610

Loveably weird
I am thinking (which tends to be extremely dangerous for me to do) about tearing this layout down (it hurts just to type that!) and redoing it. Not just redoing it, but expanding it. A lot. The wife has pretty much abandoned all interest in the basement, and when I mentioned taking over the main room, she just said "Well, it's yours anyway." So I'm seriously considering expanding.
The new and improved Union Pacific Soggy Bottoms Division will be a surround style layout with an open area in the middle. The only part I will be unable to access from outside the layout will be the back side. The dimensions along the outer edges of the benchwork will be 19 feet by 7 feet. More room would be nice, of course, but this pretty much occupies the entire room as proposed. The doors to the current train room, which will become the workshop, and the man-cave open outward and they cannot be made to open inward due to the ceiling in those rooms. See the second pic in post #173 to see what I mean.
Here's a diagram of the proposed benchwork:
Big Room Layout HO-scale.jpg
I will incorporate the river scene along the front edge of the layout, making it a lift-gate 3 feet from the right edge of the left table. The double crossover I worked so hard on will also be along the front edge. There will be 2 loops, with the outer loop running the perimeter of the layout, and rising on a 2% grade, beginning just after the train crosses the river. The summit will be in the middle of the back side, and the train will cross a cut or valley, then begin its descent back to the front side. The descent will be a bit steeper than the ascent, maybe 3%, so the train can get back to level before the double crossover which will be to the right of the river, before the lift-gate.
The inner loop will enter the yard, and a thoroughfare track will be included to enable a train to make a continuous run on the inner loop. I'm thinking the classification tracks may be stub-ended. I could possibly go 3 feet deep along the back edge, but that would make access to parts of the tables rather tough. I'll have to play with it to see what I come up with.
The benchwork from the current layout can be reused along the back side, as it's 2 feet wide, so I would only have to build the side tables and the front. The front is the width that it is because that is the width of the river scene.
Doing this would give me a good motivation to de-clutter the basement as well!
 

migalyto

Well-Known Member
Looking forward to watching your new layout take shape. Its always a win when you get extra space granted. Take it quickly, and set up your benchwork, so its to late for the spouse to change their mind!:)
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Looking forward to watching your new layout take shape. Its always a win when you get extra space granted. Take it quickly, and set up your benchwork, so its to late for the spouse to change their mind!:)
Thanks, Mike! I may start filling up the trailer.... err, cleaning the basement, on Wednesday.
 





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