Dec 30, 2011

Great layout progress, Goose #3 anniversary, Edna repainted

Just a quick post tonight... I've been off a few days for Christmas and had a chance to make great progress on the layout - all 6 new Tortoise installs are completed, the new panel at Telluride is complete, DCC LocoNet troubleshooting at Ridgway is complete, and a new optical sensor installed near the Ridgeway yard crossover (so I can 'see' when a train is clear during switching moves; key because that crossover is mostly hidden).

On the real RGS side of things, Knotts Berry Farm reported that Goose #3 just celebrated her 80th birthday (in fine, operating shape) and business car Edna has a new exterior paint job.  Details about both at on my Remaining Equipment page, which I finally got around to updating.

That page also has some further details about the RGS #20 rebuild, which continues but needs more funds.

Dec 4, 2011

Tortoises again

Wow, the fall is a busy time for our household... I thought I posted my last update here about 2 weeks ago... actually it's been 6!

So, just a brief update... on the layout side I'm back to installing Tortoise turnout motors, which involves a lot of time twisted under various parts of the layout, working upside down to align rather touchy angles on the underside of the layout.  I'm adding 3 new turnout motors at Telluride as well as a completely new panel, so operators there can switch more efficiently in the narrow aisle.  Here's the panel graphics (which was trimmed somewhat after printing; click if the full image isn't showing):

Panels go to Kinko's and are printed in color on cardstock, then laminated, then glued to the fascia.  Holes are drilled for toggles & LEDs then.

During some test op sessions, I discovered that constantly walking to the far end of the penisula to manually throw the turnouts on the run-around tracks got old pretty quickly.  Also, I figured once the depot is built, it'd be hard (and potentially dangerous to the depot model) to reach over it to manually throw a turnout which will be behind it.  So - another motor there.

I suppose an interesting note my aisle design.  Here's the layout design (click if the full image isn't showing):

The layout was designed so you could follow your train in the same aisle as much as possible.  Wider aisle areas were designed in front of Ridgway, Durango, Rico and Dolores - primary switching areas.  For Telluride, I didn't want to clog up the Dolores, so the wye at Vance and switching at Telluride are intended to be done from the left side - in the Telluride-Ophir aisle.  Thus, my turnout motor additions are being done to allow operators to stay in that aisle, and stay out of other ops' way while switching.  It sounds good on paper... eventually I have more test op sessions w/ multiple people and we'll see if my idea works.

Then in Ridgway, also as the result of some test operating, it was suggested I add motors to all the turnouts in the yard ladder, since when you're using the caboose / runaround track, it's hard to physically see the turnout positions behind those cars... especially given the 51" height of the benchwork there.  So, even for those yard turnouts that can be reached, I'm adding turnout motors and indicators on the panel.  So - another 3 Tortorti will be going in there.  The toggles and wiring are complete, and the linkages on the turnouts complete... just need to add the motors now.