Friday, September 30, 2022

September Work Session

 After the August operating session was held, Management realized that significant help would be required to move the railroad forward to be ready for the next session.

The South end staging yard needed to be marked out for track centerlines, a crossover needed to be installed at Doswell (I had left it out of my initial plan. Turns out there was a good reason it was there in real life), and track needed to be laid from the south end of Acca, towards staging.

An interpid crew of workers attended a Saturday session and much progress was made!

Here at Doswell, track had to be removed, roadbed added, sanded flat, and the crossover (a #10, built via my fast tracks tooling) installed. After the crossover was spiked down, tortoise switch machines needed to be installed, and the flex track reconnected. After all that, wiring changes would need to be made the DCC feeds.

John and Bill tackle the crossover install at South Doswell

John and Bill were able to get mostly through this list of work, which is a testament to their skills.

The master of geometry, Dick, led Mike B in getting the centerlines laid out in the staging yard.

And the final crew of Tom and Mike P worked to get track laid from Acca heading south.

Note Mike mugging for the camera and everybody else working.

More pictures in the gallery here:

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Lower Level Staging Yard Build Out

 Most long time follower will remember that the layout is intended to terminate in a staging yard south of Acca Yard, that will simulate traffic from Rocky Mount, NC and points south. The staging area is also built to support traffic to/from the former Seaboard and C&O lines that are east of Acca so we can simulate trains being transferred off of the CSX James River Sub and the CSX "S" Line.

Framing is the normal 3/4" plywood that is ripped into 3" tall strips and screwed together. An innovation that we've recently started to use is the Kreg pocket screw system. There are significant advantages to this paradigm - no screws or fasteners into end grain, which also minimizes the chances of splitting. Since you are fastening from the "inside" of the structure, out, the assembly steps are flexible and you can move supports as you see fit to work around all the under table stuff that you have on a model railroad (Tortoises, DCC and LCC pieces, wiring, etc) It also provide a very nicely finished look from the aisleway, which is a nice bonus.

Here is a nice shot of the benchwork that supports the approach to the staging yard. Note the lack of visible fasteners from the aisleway.

As plywood is still highly priced, for only a nominal amount more money, you can purchase higher quality birch faced 7 ply, which is what we did for this final push of construction. 

We've also found that this stuff is more consistent than the sheathing grade we've used in the past and it also seems to be less prone to splintering.

We have to build the support in situ for the legs that support the top staging level, so that adds to the challenge.


Got smart this time, and pulled DCC bus wires BEFORE the benchtops went on. Learning from the top (North End) staging yard, a bus per track was installed to enable us to turn it off track by track.

From a suggestion of an operator, we rounded the outside corner to make it less likely to jab you in the small of your back.

Here's the approach, with homasote painted and installed. Note the cleat for the removable bridge across the door in place.

Ready for track mark out!