Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Now back to our regularly scheduled program..

Well, hockey is officially over.  Congratulations to the LA Kings for winning the Stanley Cup.  They showed great teamwork and though my Devils lost, I’m happy that the Kings were able to win a Stanley Cup for the first time in their 40+ years as a franchise. 

Despite the distraction of the NHL Playoffs, I’ve been working steadily on the layout.  Here are some progress shots of what I’ve done in the past few weeks:

The beginnings of the curved turnout.

I built one of the curved turnouts I needed utilizing the Central Valley Turnout kits that I had picked up cheap awhile back.  I had been hesitant to try and tackle this project, but I dived in the other day and got one built.  

I didn’t follow the directions in the kit, I instead built a hybrid of the kit, and Fast Tracks built components.  I used the Fast Tracks jig to make the points, frog, and running rails, but did not solder them onto PC ties.  Instead, once everything was made, I glued all the components onto the CV Turnout Tie Strip in place on the layout. This worked out great because I was able to curve the tie strip first, glue it down, then install the Fast Tracks built components.   Last thing I needed to do was solder a throw rod onto the point rails and the turnout was built.  Now that I built one, I feel confident about building more of these anyplace I need a curved turnout.

Here is the finished curved turnout on the top level.  I think it came out great!

I continued to install track and switches, mostly on the lower level, and have all but two sidings installed on the half of the lower level that is closest to the helix. 

Here we are looking away from the helix and we see the completed runaround track.

Here is what the runaround looks like from the other end.

I have 4 more days of work left where I teach, and I’m hoping to get a lot more done once I’m off for the summer (in between checking things off my Honey-Do list that is..)


  1. Enlargements of your turnout photos show continuous point and closure rails with the possibility of electrically connecting closure rails and frog. Do you plan to use NMRA Dimension P to avoid shorts in points? Do you plan to provide polarity switched power to the closure rails and their connected parts? Which point operating mechanism provides sufficient power to bend the point and closure rails? Dick Bradley

  2. Hi Dick,

    With the development of battery powered DCC locomotive control, the electrical considerations that you would normally have on a conventionally wired layout go away. The track is not powered so worries about shorts are non-existent. I will be using Tam Valley Depot's system (soon to be released).


  3. Hi Ted: Your mention of battery powered locos led me to both Tam Valley and NWSL web sites. What made you choose Tam Valley rather than NWSL? Dick Bradley

  4. Hi Dick,

    The main reason is cost. The Stanton system requires you to buy a radio throttle, receiver for the loco, and a matched DCC decoder (Tsunami for sound, or plain NCE for non sound.) All told just this alone sets you back over $300 just to get started. The more throttles and receivers needed.. well it gets uber expensive real quick.

    The beauty of Tam Valley's setup is that you use the DCC system you already have, which could be a full blown NCE system down to as simple as using JMRI and an interface to your computer to run the layout.

    You buy a receiver/battery pack for your loco and a one time purchase of a transmitter which attaches to your DCC bus line. Pretty simple.

    I'm told by those in the know that it will be very reasonably priced. I'll give you an update when I get mine as to cost.