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Discussion Boards => Layouts => Topic started by: Terry on May 08, 2020, 04:30:57 PM

Title: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on May 08, 2020, 04:30:57 PM
I have a few things I want to do on the layout this weekend.

I don't have a track plan, I just fit what I could into the area I have to work with. In trhe southwest corner I have a station area with lots of Lionel 156 platforms. The idea is I can back the train in, and then pull out another train.

I want to have parking lots with my Tootsietoys along the sides. Originally I had the first siding straight along the layout edge, but I removed one of the sidings and recentered all the track so I could get more tootsietoys in by parking them diagonally.

I cut a section of 054 curve in half to get into the siding. This is a mess. I can't get the trains the trains to go through the reverse curve without derailing.


So I'm going to move the curve and the switch east so it's a straight shot into the yard. Basically where the switch is sitting in this picture:


I think there is enough room that I won't have to move the inner loops of track. Also while I have the switch out I want to figure out why it triggers the couplers on the cars.

Next I have these Schoenhut houses. I can't get under the layout in that area. It was designed to be mountain, but I like them there. I'm thinking I can cut groooves into the layout with the circular saw and run the wires in the grooves.


The houses don't have lights in them. I was thinking I'd put the old style ceramic bulb holders on the layout and cut holes in the bottoms of the houses. But, I found a bunch of prewired for AC LED fixtures in a box last night. I want to try one and see what it looks like compared to a regular bulb.

Lastly, I have the burning house on the hill. I put a German light controller in it that has one red bulb and 5 blinking yellow bulbs. It looks good.


I decided I'd make it smoke by putting a flyer smoking tender unit in the powerhouse with a hose running up to the house. I also found two firemen with a hose that sprays water that I want to put up by the house. (It's a german animation with the spray being a pulsating LED and a strip of fiber optic cable. )

That should keep me busy.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on June 14, 2020, 10:26:04 PM
I finally got some time to work on the layout. .

I got the approach to the passenger terminal straightened out and didn't need to move the inner tracks.


I cut the bottoms out of the Schoenhut buildings with the router. I also found the station on the left side with the roof off. That's a rare building from 1932-33. I'll repurpose it as a school building. I think there is another box of Schoenhuts somewhere. 


Then I put the track in for the Hornby engine shed. I'm going to use manual switches here. Also, I bought 15 more sections of the 3 foot straight tracks with extra ties on eBay last weekend for $4 each postpaid so I filled in the straights on the mainlines.


Then I marked the location of the roadbed. I started with a sheet of cardboard and a marker, but that didn't work well so I made up a wood block on a postwar tender frame to hold the marker.



When I was marking the track, I moved the accessories that don't define the roads off the layout. Now you can see why I put up the small section of the standard gauge layout.


I'll mark the roads with a red marker tomorrow after I do the final positioning of the streetlights.

It turns out the town I live in does paint recycling. I can get five gallon buckets of tan and gray paint just for driving over and asking. I'll use the gray for the roadbed, and the tan for putting down the grass. I should be able to add pigment to the gray to make black for the roads and the roadbed in the station terminal area.

One thing I did in the train room that you can't see is I changed all the lights to LED bulbs. One of the Asian supermarkets has pallets of floodlight led bulbs for 50 cents each. I bought a few to see how they looked, and then went back and bought enough to replace all the bulbs in the house. 

It's so much cooler without the bulbs heating the place up.

I rewired 2 Z transformers, and figure I'll need 3 of them. I probably don't need that much power, but I want to have each area on two knobs so I can adjust the lights in the buildings and the streetlamps separately.   

I still have to run the hose for the smoke on house on fire. I did find the smoke unit, but need to find the wire to rewire it.

Up next, I'll mark the streets and the locations of the houses and streetlamps on the mountain and then take up all the track.


Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: starfire700 on June 16, 2020, 05:21:35 AM
Looks like you made some good progress. I have to find time to do the same.
I like the car you made for marking the roadbed, also noticed you have a Madison Hardware diner.
I don't recall seeing the overall dimensions of the layout.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on June 16, 2020, 11:29:20 PM
The O layout is 12 ft 6 inches by almost 27 feet. If I was thinking I would have made it 12 feet wide so I could use 12 foot long boards to hold the standard layout above it. BUt the difference between a 12 foot and a 16 foot board is only $3 and I only 5 of them so I failing to think didn't hurt me.

I have a Madison diner with a 617 coach too. It's trashed, but I have most of the parts and a good 617 body so I can put it together. Chuck Brasher had a 1691 blue litho observation madison diner at a show years ago. I never saw another one. I also had most versions of the madison wartime freights including the dump car and searchlight that came from Al Cox. I didn't have a caboose which I've never seen or a 1717 gondola.

The free paint place in my town is closed for the flu season. I still have the vehicles registered at the old city address so I can try their paint recycling place. 
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on June 16, 2020, 11:48:37 PM
I got all the track up after marking roads with a red marker. I was thinking I could work on the mountain with it there, but decided I don't want to work over and around it. I'm too old to play twister.


Then I ran wire to the streetlamps on the mountain.


I use the 3M Scotchlock connectors. I bought them on amazon because the price was lower than I could find locally.  Both wires can pass through the connector so I can connect two lights at one point with connectors between them.


Then I connected the transformer to the wires I ran under the layout before I put down the homasote.

It turns out the ground isn't connected, and neither is the line on the north side of the mountain.  That's why I check everything as I go.

Here's a photo of the prewired layout:


That seemed like a good place to stop for the week.

Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: starfire700 on June 17, 2020, 04:51:01 AM
The wire connectors are a good idea. As my layout benchwork is at 30", I have only done temporary wiring so far.
I also collect the Madison items, have the 637, 617 and a maroon 1691 type diner.
I have the 1717 gondola, floodlight and flatcar variations, a 653 hopper body only, others, I will have to check (all flat black). I never saw a caboose for the series. I will post some pix in the collectibles area. I assume that a 1684 would be the right loco to make a set with these, possibly a 229.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on June 22, 2020, 12:18:34 AM
I liked the dull black 258E late body loco with a 1689T with rubber stamped Lionel Lines  on the side for the madison wartime stuff.

This week's progress on the layout isn't as dramatic, but from here it will start going fast.

I solved the ground problem with a jumper. The no current on the line for + to the streetlights on the north side problem can't be solved. It's broken somewhere under the layout and the wires are cable tied so they don't move. There are not very many streetlamps so I just have both sides on the same circuit. The houses are on two circuits.

The wires for the houses are in and working. I taped them down with duct tape so I don't get them screwed up when I build the mountain.

I started on the mountian. I cut the styrofoam to fit, and then glue it down. I use the hot wire coping saw to cut angles so I get more bonding surface. Hot melt glue works great, I also bought some glue in caulking tubes that say it bonds in 30 seconds, but it doesn't hold in the curves. The hot melt glue holds when held in place for about 2 minutes.

I need to laminate the sheets along the verticle edge and then carve them down because the run isn't straight. It will look better this way.

Here's what it looks like with about 10 feet glued on, but needing carving before coating with plaster:


The blue sheets don't bend, but are more stable for poking the bases of trees so I have that on the upper flatter areas.

I have a nice selection of mountaireering tools:


From the left are five different Hot Wire Foam Factory tools and the power supply. The different pointed irons have different heads and the power supply allows me to regulate the heat so I can make different sized grooves and voids.

I haven't used these in over 20 years, but I do remember that the plaster requires larger cuts than you expect.

The two irons on the right came with trains I bought and might work to make interesting voids. I think they are actually for sealing shrink wrap. I'll see what I can do with them.

I also have a table and a bunch of other hand tools, but the table isn't "handy," and the other tools duplicate what is there. I had a Woodland Scenics coping saw type hadn tool, but gave it away. The Woodland scenics cutter has a trigger and doesn't stay hot. Everytime you use it you have to hold the trigger down for about a minute before you can start cutting.I don't like that.

Not shown are Silicone Rubber sheets to rest the tools on when they are hot. They are actually hot pads from kitchen supply. You can soldier on them and the heat will not go through to the other side.

Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: starfire700 on June 23, 2020, 04:38:50 AM
I have never used the hot wire cutters. I am not sure if I will have a mountain or not on my new layout. Any embankments or other topography will be accomplished with spray foam and real local rocks.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on June 24, 2020, 07:48:41 PM
My mountain is there because I won't run tracks where I can't reach them so I'd just put houses there anyway.

The mountain will hold the houses and block the two sides so the layout is more interesting. I have boxes of trees to cover the mountain with.

Here's where I'm at now. I got the sheet of particle board free at home depot. That will be a marsh area.




The areas with gentle slopes get a nylon fabric dunked in colored plaster over them. The fabric keeps it from cracking, and the foam underneath provides anchor points for the trees.

The more verticle areas will be carved to look like cliffs or stonework. Some of those won't be visible as they are behind trees.

We had our first week of 110+ degree weather so I'm spending the days in the basement.

Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: starfire700 on June 26, 2020, 05:10:45 AM
I have also learned that a layout has to be designed so all critical areas can be reached. I have only a few areas that will be difficult and will also only place accessories in those locations that will require no attention. My yard area, which requires the most attention, is a 5' wide peninsula, so all areas of it are easily accessible. I will post some progress photos soon.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on July 06, 2020, 12:57:27 AM
When my dad got older he used to call me on the phone and ask me when I'd be near his house again. I'd ask him if the train was off the track again. That layout was up for about 22 years, and toward the end my dad would say "Don't touch the ceiling" when I was on the layout because there were black fingerprints up there. Given the option of being impaled  by a gateman or streetlamp or putting another greasy fingerprint on the ceiling, I choose the ceiling everytime.

Here's the layout with the mountain mostly carved and the first application of plaster cloth. I'm putting plaster cloth on the seams where the foam meets the wood so it doesn't crack.





Here's the mountain ready for first coats of plaster.



I need to do the sides in the marsh area shown below. I'll fill the sides with spray foam and then round it off.


I'm trying something new.  I am going to put three coats of plaster on the mountain. The first will be a hard black coat, second will be a softer gray coat and top will be a soft tan coat. Then I can wire brush the softer areas to get texture and color. I tried this outside on some scraps and it makes a nice look for the sheer walls.


Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: starfire700 on July 10, 2020, 04:38:26 AM
This looks like a major construction project. I can't wait to see it completed. Of course I realize that most model railroaders say that a layout is never completed.
I have to get back to working on mine and will post some pix.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on July 11, 2020, 04:26:21 PM
First coat of plaster. This coat is as dark as I can get it, and as hard. I used about 30 pounds on what you see below. 

For this coat I used a mixture of paster of paris and 20 minute drywall compound with black oxide mixed in for the color. The first batch went well, but later batches kicked too fast. I even made the later batches smaller  about 5 pounds instead of 10, but I guess the heat outside where I was mixing was too high. It was 115 when I mixed the last batch.

Next coat will be thick brown, then a thin tan. The blue areas get grass so they don't need as much plaster to cover. 



Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on July 12, 2020, 04:04:31 PM
Here's the second coat of plaster. This was just plain paster of paris from a 22.5KG bag I bought at a place where they sell plaster molding supplies.  I mixed the plaster with ice water - I put cold water in a bucket and added lots of ice. Before adding the water to the plaster I mixed in colors.

I mixed about 10 cups of plaster at a time. With the cold water it didn't set before I could finish it. Once I got the areas that needed thick plaster covered, I added ice water to the mixture to make it thinner for the vertical areas.




Tomorrow I'll do another lighter colored coat of soft plaster on the vertical areas using premixed drywall patch. Then next weekend when everything is fully dry, I can start working it.

I realized yesterday that I spend 20-25 percent of my work time is spent cleaning up.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on July 14, 2020, 04:26:32 PM
This is the second coat after drying for 2 days:



I found a 3 pound package of sculptamold which seems to be plaster and some kind of filler. I put thet on in some areas, then mixed up a watery coat of plaster using the last of the bag.


The plateau on the end of the mountain has cloth soaked in the plaster mix. That will cover the seams in the wood.


I'm glad I took the track up.

Interesting note. The dog comes down and watches me work. (there is also a box of dog treats so she might be coming down for food.) She doesn't come down when I work with plaster.

Tomorrow I can pick up the free paint from the town recycling place so I'll be putting grass on the mountain this weekend.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: starfire700 on July 17, 2020, 04:56:57 AM
What will you use for trees and shrubs? I use bottle-brush and green-painted pine cones mainly. Also cut up some loofah for hedges and trees on a stick, like Lionel did for their plots.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on July 17, 2020, 12:05:29 PM
Giggling like a moron he writes, "I've been saving trees for a few years."

I have tubs of them. Big tubs.

All brands from cheapie Life-like to great looking individually handmade ones.

Here's grass and dirt:

3 tubs of trees:

Close up of neater trees:

The mountain is a bit harder than I expected so i'll have to drill holes for the trees with the cordless drill. Actually that's good because it will spread some of the brown plaster dust around the base of the tree.


Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on July 18, 2020, 07:00:23 PM
Here's the mountain becoming more like a mountain.

Before I started:


I scrubbed the whole thing with wire brushes. The big garage floor brush worked well. I pushed a little hard in a few places and the plaster cracked which looks pretty good.

Then I put some watered down black ink in a spray bottle with a half clogged nozzle and spritzed the whole thing. This nozzle caused splattering and droplets. After that dried, I did it again, and ran a wet brush over everything. It looks great.

Here's some pictures:


Here's the same area as the before picture above:


Here's the rest of gthe mountain working around clockwise:



Tomorrow I'll add some more color to the exposed rock areas and start with the grassy meadows on the plataeu.

Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on July 20, 2020, 11:30:59 PM
From this point there will be dramatic changes in the layout. I now have enough done that I can work on two areas at once. I'm doing the station area and finishing the mountain.

Here's the station area:


The cardboard box is the size of the pedestal for the station. They'll be concrete parking lots along the edges of the layout, and the whole are will be filled with the 156 platforms.

Here's the area masked off for roadbed:


Here's the area painted with gray paint and covered with sand:


The next day I swept off the loose sand and then top coated it while working more sand in. I also did a strip of the mainline with just one coat to see if I can work the sand into the first coat.

Here's both with the tape removed:


I don't see a big enough difference to warrante doing two coats. The station area has defects where I removed the tape. I doubt that will happen as much in the areas with one coat.

In the future I'll do one coat with sand worked in.

The mountain road:

I was going to do a plaster road, but that's a mess. I looked at using cork, but that didn't look good and won't handle the curves. So I did a dirt road. I mixed dirt and brown ballasts togethr to get about 10 quarts of material and then embeded in into the tan paint.

Here's the mountain after I put a dirt road down and reclaimed the excess:

7-18dirt road01.jpg

7-18dirt road02.jpg

 The edges of the road will be defined by the grass. I'll touch up the areas that look thin with  diluted white glue and an eyedropper.  I have about a quart of mixture left.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on July 20, 2020, 11:53:04 PM
After reclaiming the dirt from the mountain road, I started putting grass on the mountain. I mixed up about 3 gallons of green and about 10 quarts of brown, and had shakers with large brown and green foam on hand.

Here' a picture of the green bucket:


The spray bottle has diluted white glue with a few drops of dish soap in it. The dish soap allows the mixture to seep into holes. The spray bottles last about 3-4 hours and then the sprayer breaks. They don't handle the thick mixture well.

The mountain is done by painting the flat area between the mountain and the road, and then spritzing the area above or below with the glue mixture. Then large foam is blown on, then the small dirt, then the whole flat area coated with the green mixture. The flats are tamped down into the paint.

You can paint over areas that were already done. Or spay more glue on and throw foam.

Here's the south side before the excess foam was reclaimed:




That's the whole three gallons of green mixture and about 5 quarts of brown.

After sweeping and vacuuming the excess I had about 1 1/2 gallons of green mixture that had more brown in it than the day before. I'll add more green to the bucket and do the other side. By using large amounts of mix, I can make areas of the layout shift color. Small mixtures result in a checkerboard pattern that is not realistic.

Here's what it looks like after reclamation:



For the slopes where I want exposed rock, I can just brush harder with the broom to reveal more of the rock underneath.

The reclaimed material with more colors added was used on the north face of the mountain. The 3rd sprayer died, and I didn't have another so the area from the cliff face to the post has nothing on the slopes.

Here's the north face before reclaiming excess foam:



Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: starfire700 on July 22, 2020, 05:18:06 AM
You have made substantial progress. It is a relief to get to the point that dramatic changes can be made. I am also getting to that point on my layout.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on July 22, 2020, 12:44:59 PM
Last night I did some testing with road mix. Here's what will be concrete parking area beside the station. I have concrete colored paint, but want to avoid using paint on the roads because I fear damage to the Tootsietoy wheels.


I have a bunch of boxes of Faller road material. Based on what I did last night,  I think one package of the plaster with 7/8ths cup water and the dye pack will make about 10 feet of 5" wide blacktop road.

Here's the Faller Road material and a test of what I can do with tape. The roadway is sandable, but I make it flat by spritsing it with water and running the trowel over it very lightly.

Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on July 28, 2020, 05:00:29 PM
Since the last update, I did the lights for the Schoenhut town.


Because I can't get underneath here, I ran the wires for the lights in grooves I cut with a circular saw, then I put plaster over the cuts. The plaster will add a bit of texture to the flat area too.

Here's some shots of the trees planted on the mountain. I'm hooking up the houses and streetlights and then planting the trees as I work around. This is the south side:




I'll finish the south side all the way down with the pine and spruce trees with some others mixed in. The north face will have a more desolate look on the slopes and deciduous trees near the houses.

From looking at those pictures, I need to put some grass over the bases of the deciduous trees. I'll do that and add some cars and people.

I started out using the new trees that are $2-3 each, but went back later and pulled many out and replaced them with good used trees I had. You can't tell from 6 feet away which trees are which.

I also made sidewalks for the station area from strips of 1/8" masonite.

I was going to cut styrene strips for the sidewalk, but couldn't find the styrene or the little table saw. I found some brick sheets, but the powered coping saw was missing a part.  The saw had never been out of the box or set up.  Micro-Mark said they'd send me the part even though I have had the saw for 20+ years.

I have lots of Micro Mark tools and have never been disappointed with them.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: starfire700 on July 30, 2020, 05:12:39 AM
It looks like we are in similar states of progress on our mountains and lighting. I will have to get some current photos posted. It really looks good when the finishing touches of landscape, buildings and lighting bring it all together.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on August 05, 2020, 11:31:55 PM
Here's what I got done over the weekend. Mountain is done, but I'm still missing a few Lionel houses. I did unpack more stuff and found peacock and cream 58 lamp posts, but not the maroon and brown ones I was looking for.









Here's the station area with the Masonite strips I made for the sidewalks laid in place. I have to glue them down and paint the whole parking area.



The streets didn't come out well. The Faller dye packs had congealed so they were not usable. I did  manage to mix up some black plaster, but there were lumps in the plaster that when worked out, left lighter areas after it dried. I'm thinking I should be able to just wipe rubbing alcohol mixed with india  ink onto the surface to darken it. Or maybe just water color paint.

Here's a close-up of the street before and after I misted it with plain water.



I also did all the roadbed on the north end of the layout. Based on the time it took me to do that, I should be able to get all the roadbed down this weekend and start on the grassy areas.

Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: starfire700 on August 07, 2020, 08:33:59 AM
I don't recall if you said where you got your trees, or if you made them. You sure have a lot. Most of mine are vintage, that I have had a long time, for many layouts. Most had Christmas snow and red bases, so had to be painted green and bases removed. The old trees are also very brittle and the needles fall off if I look at them sideways.
Looks Good !
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on August 11, 2020, 06:55:47 PM
I got the trees when I bought trains. The really cool looking pine trees are made by Grand Central. I got a dealer case of those last summer. The old ones from prior layouts became a lump in a box and most weren't usable.

Over the weekend, I finished the roadbed except on the end where the swamp goes. I ran out of the cheap Home Depot masking tape and bought blue Scotch brand masking tape at Walmart. The blue tape is much easier to work with. Well worth the few cents extra.

Sunday night I vacuumed and cleaned up.

Today I spent 3 hours putting grass down on one end. I start with a bucket containing about 3 gallons of green mixture and a second bucket with about a gallon of brown. I paint about 2 square feet of area using a big brush and a tight brush to cut in at the roads and roadbed. Then I dust the brown  mix along the edges of the roadbed and roads, and pour the grass mix on top of everything. Then I swirl it around and tamp it down with my hands.

I'll vacuum the material that doesn't stick up later and pour it into the green bucket. I used about 2 gallons today, and will get about a gallon back. It will be browner than what I started with so I add more green to the bucket and start again.

Any bare areas will be tan from the paint and can have grass added with white glue and water.  After the track goes in, I'll put trees and shrubs on as I put the buildings on.

Here's pictures:








This seems easier than working an a layout that is on legs.

It's coming together.

Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on August 25, 2020, 03:07:17 PM
Here's where I'm at right now:

I put grass down with brown paint rather than glue so if the grass comes off the paint looks like dirt. On one side and end the paint wicked up into the grass and turned everything brown. I went back over it with more grass and white glue. On  the other side - the side with the factory in the pictures - the tan paint worked well.

On some of the photos you can see where I added more grass because it's thicker. I'll add more when I put the buildings in to vary it.

You can also see where I touched up the gray roadbed.






Today I'm going to touch up the black roads, and work on the marsh area. Then I can move the track onto the layout so I can work on the station area.


Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on September 03, 2020, 05:43:00 PM
I did the sides of the marsh area with a box of something called permascene. I had a paper bag of it that I used on the mountain, and liked. This was in a plastic bag inside a cardboard box.  This was different.

It took a week for the material to dry - water was seeping out at the lower edge. Now I go down and push at it and it crumbles away. I'll have to strip it all off and redo the area with plaster.



While I was waiting for the crap to dry, I started going through the switch machines. It takes about 20  minutes to either make a machine good and usable or reject it and start on another one. I have dozens of 022 switches I can take motors from.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: starfire700 on September 05, 2020, 04:46:45 AM
Are you going to fill the marsh with some kind of clear resin?
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on September 05, 2020, 11:48:37 AM
 I have Woodland scenics water. Bags of clear beads that get melted.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on September 10, 2020, 09:29:23 PM
Here's the progress as of Monday night. I scraped off the material that did cure right and used a box of hydrocal from Hobby Lobby mixed with brown color to cover over the mess. I ran out of that so I mixed up a quart of woodland Scenics molding plaster and put that on.

I think the problem with these old boxes of plaster mixes is the ones with additives or aggregates like the woodland scenics and the Sculptamold seperate while stored over the decades. Then when I mix them up I'm not getting the plaster which would bond everything together. In  the future I'll just use the whole package unless it's pure plaster.

Here's the marsh area:



I also did the final strips  of grassy areas near the station.



Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: starfire700 on September 13, 2020, 05:18:59 AM
Very nice, especially the mountain area.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on September 13, 2020, 01:44:28 PM
Here's yesterday's progress.

I laid most of the track where it goes, but I'm using the long extra tie sections I bought and trying to put shorter sections near the roads and where I want relays so I need to cut a bunch of track.

The outer circle of track is screwed down so I can place the bridges. The white areas will be painted concrete gray. That's just primer using paint I had left over from when I painted the garage.



I lucked out. I was going to make a pair of piers for the bridges out of wood. I didn't have any chucnks big enough to cut down, but it turned out a 3/4" slice cut off a 4 by 4 and then attached to the bottom made a nice looking pier. It needs another coat of paint to cover the woodgrain. The screws are just for holding it while painting.


Here's what the rest of the layout looks like with track laid in place.  I did the switche machines in the station, but still need to go thorough the others. 




I should be running trains by the end of the month.

I was trying to find a transmission dipstick to use for pulling wires. The one on my GM van is about 6 feet long. It turns out people loose them so the junk yards don't have them. I'll use a coat hanger.

Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on September 19, 2020, 11:58:45 PM
I got the piers laid in the marsh area and did the color.

Here's the bridges set in place with the edging trim set up:



I didn't like it closed off so I cut down the trim board.



It gives it a much more open appearance and means I can put fishermen under the bridge.

The edging on that side of the layout won't need to come off so once it's painted and dry I'll put it on.  After painting the edging in the garage, I went back down and painted the water area.

I looked at the woodland scenics website and they said to paint the deep areas darker with raw umber, then use burnt umber around that and yellow orche in the shallow areas. Then I saw on the bags of water to use a hint of green, so I wiped some Rit dye in water over the darker areas to blend the last of the powders. That's the wet areas you see.

It looks like a mess, but I think it's a matter of just stopping because it looks good enough. If it's too dark a light wash of yellow once it's dried will lighten it up and then look good under the water.



I have 3 bags of the Woodland Scenics EZ Water. I should be using 5 bags, but unless I find some when I'm cleaning up it will have to do. You heat it and pour it into the area. I'll get a dollar pan at Goodwill and do it later.

Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on September 20, 2020, 12:25:17 AM
I have 4 of the 6 switches for the middle loop cleaned up and working well. The other two are being picky.

One switch I rejected had a broken base and was flexing when the selenoid went. I have boxes of Lionel 022 switches that I don't need for the layout, and can't sell anymore I pick through for motors. I have a box of 24V screw bulbs that I'm using in the motors so I'm trying to just use the screw bulb motors.

I'll do a post on fixing switches.

I just noticed you can go to the top of each page (Click on number above author in upper left corner) and then open the first picture. Then use the arrow botton to flip through the pictures and you can see the progress. Most of my pictures are dated in the name in the lower left corner. The first page has pictures that were uploaded before I installed the image viewer upgrades.  You need to change pages to see the next group of pictures.

Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: starfire700 on September 20, 2020, 05:05:10 AM
A note on switches. I was having typical problems with some 711's, mainly sluggish operation and they do not completely throw, even with fixed voltage. All have been cleaned and tested on the bench. Anyway, I purchased some modern Lionel 072 switches for the tubular upper level, so I would not have any problems, Ha Ha......
The modern switches throw quick and smooth at low voltage, but are lightweight and the moving frog rails are not made to exact specs. They leave a gap that the wheels of a car or loco can pick-open and derail the train. So obviously not good for upper level operation. I will go back to Lionel 711 wide radius and make the best of sluggish operation.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on September 20, 2020, 02:56:43 PM
I tried hooking a Ciruitron Snapper up to a switch but it had no effect. The Snapper is a fast discharge capacitor that fires 50 volts when the circuit is completed. You can't use switch controllers, and lantern bulbs must be rewired. (I just removed the bulb when testing.)

I had high hopes for the Snapper.

While I was writing this I realized I have a Variac transformer that will do 0-110V AC. I'll have to play with it.

I want to do trains alternating directions automatically on the middle line. To do that I need the switches to work off the non-derailing function 100% of the time. We'll see.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on September 21, 2020, 12:31:23 AM
Here's the stone paper installed on the causeway behind the marsh.


With the bridge in place. Lots of loose black grit I used to fill holes that will sweep off.


After sweeping I decided I didn't like it being so bright under the back of the bridge so I painted the cliff and much of the floor underneath black and then blew the dust and grit I'd swept up back into the wet paint.


That's it, but I have a like new later bright red bridge with a decal I'll use instead of the brass plate early bridge shown.

This week I'll concentrate on getting the track laid and hopefully be running some trains soon.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: starfire700 on September 22, 2020, 05:18:05 AM
Your water feature looks great. One thing that I had planned, but never happened on my layout was a land or water feature "below" table level. This helps with a more realistic look when the landscape is both above and below table level.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on September 23, 2020, 12:19:42 AM
As of tonight all the track is down, but for the station area and the two innermost freight yard lines. I found an apple box of usede and dirty 072 straights that allowed me to use 072 for the whole layout.  I got tired of cleaning switches so I didn't get the freight yard or the siding behind the coal and log loaders done.

I put the accessories out. I'll put a single train on each line as I wire it up. Friday night I'll put the transformers on. I decided to use 3  250 watt Z transformers and the handheld MRC unit. That will give me 1000 watts.

The next step is to wire the layout with lockons and run the trains for a while while I wire the station area.

Then I'll take up the few sections of track that get soldier connections on them while putting in the outside rails for the accessories.

I am amazed at how big the layout is. It's just over 13 feet by 27.5 feet.  It just swallows up the accessories and buildings.

Here's current pictures.









Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: starfire700 on September 24, 2020, 04:54:47 AM
Looking very nice and finished. Something that most layouts never achieve. I don't remember if I asked before about the white 4x4 posts. Are they crowd-control for when you have visitors, or will you be somehow raising the layout onto these posts?
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on September 24, 2020, 01:22:03 PM
The standard gauge layout goes on those. I'm going to paint all the wood before I put it on, and wanted to wait until it's cooler. Also I need to get as much of the inner O gauge layout wired as posible so I can avoid beating my head on the standard layout.
Title: It's running again
Post by: Terry on October 03, 2020, 05:35:04 PM
I finally got back downstairs last night and got the trains running.

The track wiring is temporary with lockons. I'll go around and do each area with soldiered connections through holes.

Here's a video:

The dog doesn't think I should be running postwar locos on the layout. I think that is neat.

I think I need put something on the end where the crane is to block sight down the south side from where I was sitting. Maybe that Lionel Factory?
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on October 11, 2020, 02:37:37 PM
Here's a video of the 752W set I bought Saturday on the layout. There's a fourth car, but the vestibule only has one wheel.

The dog is getting used to the trains, but is still a little wary of the yellow ones.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on October 11, 2020, 03:19:32 PM
Here's an article about the layout I just finished for the local newsletter:

Terry Builds a Layout.

Progress continues on the O gauge floor layout. The track is back down, but only the outer loop is permanently wired. The other two are just on lockons. I'm going around each circle of track and connecting feeders to the track, installing blocks, and adding insulated outside rails where needed for the streets and signals.

Here's some pictures of the layout as of October 11th.


The west end of the layout with the ladder to the passenger yard, the end of the mountain, the Schoenhut village and the backside of the transformers. That's a difficult to find prewar 027  Lionel 1022 tunnel.


This is the south side of the layout. The inner and outer lines just go through here. The middle line has passing sidings. My goal is to put trains on the sidings and use relays to run them in opposite directions. With the mountain blocking views from the north, you'll see trains running back and forth, but not the parking sidings.

At this point, I'm not sure I can get trains to run automatically. The switch machines just aren't reliable enough. The youngest of those switches is 78 years old. Those are the best switches I have mated to the best motors.


The southeast corner of the layout has a road crossing and gives way to the marsh with the bridges. To wire the trains and track near the edge and back to the diner is quite simple. I just stick some wire through a hole and reach under and grab it. For the areas farther back from the end, I have a 40 inch long copper rod I tape the wires onto.  This is a learning experience. When I jam the stiff rod though the layout, it snags on the carpet. Last night I realized a small bit of Masonite slid  under the hole would help.



Pictures 4 thru 7 show the bridges and the marsh area. I have a few dozen wonderful weeping willow trees to sick in here. Once I get the  face board on, I'll pour the Woodland Scenics water into the marsh and plant the trees.

The piers for the bridges were the result of a lot of time spent trying to figure out something that would look good that I could make with what I had. I ended up cutting a ¾ inch slice off a 4 by 4, and then using the slice as the base. It looks good. I have another bridge with a light somewhere.

In the last picture with the bags of water you can see I already cracked the side of the marsh. That's the only area of the whole layout where I didn't color the plaster. This happened because I was using old bags of layout material and the crap failed to set. I scraped the mold-a-scene off and then used whatever the bag was and got even worse results. In my frustration at having to redo it again, I forgot to add pigment to the plaster.

I cracked the marsh when I lifted the side of the layout to stuff a wire under the water area. You can see the 153 block signals at the bridge approaches. I'm wiring them up to relays. The trip wires go from one side of the marsh to the other.

If you watch the video you can hear the relay clicking and buzzing when the City of Portland comes out of the bridge. That's an old 1950s era telephone relay. I ordered a box of new, and hopefully, quieter relays after listening to it click for a while.


The northeast corner of the layout has the ends of the freight yard, and otherwise is bare. I'll add trees and some cows or something later. Post-it notes tell me where the insulating pins go. I'm not planning on using the blocks when running trains. I wired the entire layout so there are 12-15  foot blocks so if there is a short in the layout later I can isolate it to a specific area.


Here's the operating accessories. The inner and outer loops are hooked to an MRC transformer with a hand held controller. I'll wire the accessories so the controllers are at the front edge of the layout. This way I can run the switcher up and dump the car, then run around and refill the cars. 


Here's the power supplies. The MRC transformer on the post will be hidden in the framing of the standard gauge layout. The three Z transformers are already connected to feeders under the layout.  Two of the big knobs on the single Z are used for the middle loop of track.  The other knobs each do a specific area.


This shows the terminal strips under the layout. The back wires are for the freight yard switches, and the red/black wires are for the track. When I just soldier wires to the track, I can do the permanent feeders quickly. Making track sections with insulated rails takes longer.

It's coming together. 

Title: New track means the trains can run fast
Post by: Terry on October 17, 2020, 10:42:13 PM
I bought a postwar Santa Fe aluminum passenger set today from the original owner. She got it in 1953. Lionel 2353 AA with 4 matched hex head rivet cars. There is also an extra dome car with round head rivits. A little oil on it and it runs great, even all the lights work.

Here's a video I shot of it racing around the track with the City of Portland set.

For the 2353 the horn is in the dummy A unit. When I was setting it up, I thought moving the weight from the loco to the dummy would efect pulling power, but i can't see it.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: starfire700 on October 21, 2020, 05:31:30 AM
Layout looks great and you put it together in a relatively short time. It should be fun to operate. 
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on November 19, 2020, 01:31:17 AM
Here's the 156 station platforms. I bought 4 of these at a show last weekend for $10 each. I'm glad I did. I only have one whole platform left. Based on the parts I have left over, the roofs are broken much more commonly than the bases.



I made a box to go under the 116 station in the area between the sheds and the wall. It will be 514R Ivory and 45N red on the upper portion.

Here's the box before painting:

Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on December 15, 2020, 10:03:06 PM
I got the 763E hudson out and started running it on the layout. It has to be able to go around the outer two loops without problems. It didn't.

A lot of areas were simple to fix. two tracks connected together with a slight cock in the joint, or two tracks connected together and a screw in an end tie pulling the rail down to make a bump.

In one area all the trains except the FM and F3s had problems. A close look revealed there was a 5/8" thick sheet of soundboard butted up to a 1/2" sheet. To make it worse, it was right at a curve.

The blue tape in the photo below is on the seam:


I used a wood chisel and razor knife to scrape away the thicker sheet and taper it down. Here's a few shots of the reformed area.



That photo shows the two sheets after scraping the thicker one down.

After scraping, I put the track back in and tested both loops with the hudson:




It worked! The loco runs through with no bumping or twitching.

Then I took the track back up and ballasted the area. The paint brush is the same one I was using before that I wrapped in plastic wrap after each use. Still good all these months later.



The next day, I put the track back down and ran the trains over it. No problems


Now I am going to do the passing sidings on the middle track along the south side.  The yellow post it notes show where the blocks go.


Here's the beginnings of the standard gauge layout in the garage. I should have all the framing painted and ready to start installing by the time I have the south side done.


Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: pjdog350 on December 21, 2020, 04:11:17 AM
Wow Terry. Your layout is very impressive. I would love to see a video of you trains running at a normal speed. You sure can find great train sets.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on December 21, 2020, 01:21:39 PM
here's more of the layout on youtube:

The dog hates the yellow trains. 
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: pjdog350 on December 22, 2020, 04:36:28 PM
Thanks Terry. Your layout is looking real good. Lots of track. Lots of turnouts. Lots of trains. The CP’s and cars are super nice. I has some 2343’s that where very nice but I had a weak moment and sold allot of trains. I’ve done that twice. Wish I had them today.

The M10,000 and B6 are sweet also.
Title: Thinking about changing the layout
Post by: Terry on December 24, 2020, 12:44:02 AM
Originally the south side was to have trains running alternately with relays so from the north side you'd see trains going back and forth on the same track. After cleaning the switches I decided to run more than two was unrealistic. The old switches just don't work.

I finished the wiring Monday night, then spent Tuesday adjusting the switches again, and trying to run some trains.

I managed to get a  mohave 253 with three 610 cars and a dark green 254 with 2 610 cars to run, but could not run it through two complete cycles.

It just won't work.

So I'm thinking I'll put some postwar accessories in that area, and use the middle line for postwar.




I'd take up the row behind the log loader that the coal loader is sitting on. I know I can scrape the roadbed off and then lay grass so it looks good.

That would give me three routes - the one closest to the layout edge and the one by the road in the back are different lines:

The front line would just go through. I'd put the Virginian with some cars on the siding.

The middle line would have milk and Ice platforms off the front and coal,  log, horse, and culvert off the back. I could put the 622 switcher on that siding with the operating cars.

The back line would just go through and could have a train parked on it. I have an NP  GP9 set like the one I had as a kid.

The handheld unit runs two trains. I could switch it so it does the middle and innermost loops. Then I can put a controller on the center post.

Just thinking. . .
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on December 28, 2020, 12:56:33 PM
I decided to put some postwar trains on the south side. I removed a bit of one siding but left the other end because the 364 log loader uses that space anyway.

Here's the area with the track up before the roadbed was removed:



After scraping the roadbed up and putting down grass:



With the streetlights and towers wired up and working:




I have postwar stations and accessories in boxes that I need to unpack. The area where I removed the track will get milk, cattle, horse, and ice station. I want to add a beacon and the radar tower somewhere.

Here's other areas of the layout showing where I'm at:



Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on December 28, 2020, 01:07:33 PM
Here's a video of the 2331 pulling some 6464 cars around.

I have two handheld units like you see in the video, but something is wrong with one and it only runs the middle loop. The other handheld on the north side runs both the middle and inside loops.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: pjdog350 on December 29, 2020, 04:27:28 AM
The layout is great. By being on the floor you can see everything really well. Great track. I love tube track. For just laying track without a a track plan first you did a super job. It’s most impressive. Everything seems to work real well.

My dad always said there is no such thing as s stupid question. So I’m going to risk it? Why all the tall white post. So you don’t have to bend over for the controllers. You have them on the posts?
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on December 29, 2020, 12:30:03 PM
the white posts are for the standard gauge layout that goes on top. It will be 1924-36 era Lionel.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: pjdog350 on December 29, 2020, 01:20:34 PM
I would not want to cover up he O gauge. It’s so impressive.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on December 29, 2020, 03:57:12 PM
It's designed so the mountain blocks views. I like the idea of making people look to see interesting things. Originally I was just going to do a few loops and the train station, but had all the accessories from when I was collecting so I put them on.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: CNJRR on January 02, 2021, 03:42:38 PM
A lot of work, looking good.
Since there are no dates on the posts, I am wondering how long it took to get where your at?
Was this all done since around last May?
I was wondering about the white posts too, I am glad someone else asked before me.
I thought that maybe you were going to build it down low and somehow lift it up later on.  ;D
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on January 02, 2021, 06:15:35 PM
I started the wood in April 2020. I spent 30-50 hours a week on it during the initial lock-down. Now I'm doing maybe 20 hours a week as I want to get other stuff done.

Pictures are simple. There is a link to instructions in my signature.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: CNJRR on January 08, 2021, 09:20:38 AM
I started the wood in April 2020. I spent 30-50 hours a week on it during the initial lock-down. Now I'm doing maybe 20 hours a week as I want to get other stuff done.

Pictures are simple. There is a link to instructions in my signature.

Wow, like a full time job.  :)
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on January 14, 2021, 02:09:24 AM
Here's the latest:




You can see the track is up in that area because one of the switches I'd repaired was bleeding current from the fixed voltage pin, and I decided to hard wire the lights in the two manual switches that go into the Hornby engine shed.

Here's after putting the track in and wiring a few of the lights:



Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: CNJRR on January 18, 2021, 11:57:34 AM
Beam me up Scotty, I mean Terry.
How hard will it be to get in under there if you need to, after the top goes on?

I wish I had more room like some of you do. :(
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: Terry on January 18, 2021, 12:22:56 PM
That's why I'm doing so much before the top goes on. Basically the layout will be done when the top goes on, and all the trains are within arm's length of the edge except the west end by the schoenhut town.

My dad and I built a standard gauge layout under the an even lower O layout when I was in high school. That was 24 inches to the lower edge of the layout. This is 35 inches.

Today I'm going to buy one of those reacher sticks with the clamp on it.
Title: Re: Terry's Layout
Post by: pjdog350 on February 11, 2021, 04:59:28 AM
How are you coming with your layout. Been watching this tread but you have not been giving us a look.