Retreating to the basement…

Because it was nut sack sweat hot out today, I figured spending some quality time in the basement would be better than in a humid garage. Although summer in these parts is short (2 months of good weather sometimes) I just don’t like doing much outside when its 30 degrees C with no wind. A couple days ago I painted all the backdrop that I had installed on the layout with a base shade of blue. After spending lots of time masking track and working in very awkward positions, I decided there has to be a better way to do things. So, today I pre painted an 8 foot section of hardboard before installing it on the layout. Much easier! So here’s a shot of said piece after the second coat of paint, and an overview shot of the sections I painted before. The blue looks better in person than in the photos, and it made a big difference in brightening up the room!

blue backdrop flat blue backdrop overview

That’s all I’ve done in the last month or so, been too busy landscaping our yard to do much modelling!


Pinesul in Detail

So here’s Pinesul explained a little more. The prototype location featured a sulphur load out where empty gons were loaded with bulk sulphur and shipped south to other markets.

Prototype from North end:


As built on layout from North end:

Pinesul middle

The loading structure which I plan on kitbashing from some Walthers kits (the Glacier Gravel kit comes to mind)


South end of Pinesul on the layout, the hoppers are spotted where the loading complex will be

Pinesul south complete

Overview with the south switch Pinesul at the bottom of the image. The track where the hoppers are spotted will have a car puller (winch) that allowed the loading staff to pull empties through the loader.

Pinesul south switch

Next up will be building the mainline to Kennedy!

Hello Pinesul!

Finally an update! I’ve been working nights for the past month, so there has been very little time spent on the layout. At this point I’ve got the roadbed and part of the track down for the Pinesul area, which will have a short siding and 2 stub ended tracks as per prototype.

Looking at the north end of Pinesul:

Pinesul North End

And a little farther down the line, at the south end:

Pinesul South end

I have also built one of the large curves on the upper level:

Upper curve

That 2X4 in the middle is a compromise. In order to provide stability for this section of benchwork without having legs running to the floor (which would be in the way of the lower deck) I had to attach that 2X4 to the roof joist. Now if I hadn’t have built my stud wall too short, this would have been much easier! I can hide the 2X4 with scenery later on, and I can live with it sitting by the mainline. Next up is track laying in Pinesul!


More Fancy Electronics

This past week in addition to adding the Hulcross siding, I wired my Digitrax system to 4 of the PSX circuit breakers as well as one of the RRampmeters. I’m using a DB150 for a command station which feeds 3 power districts, with another DB150 set up as a booster for the remaining 4 power districts. I still have to purchase 3 more PSX breakers, but they can be aquired at a later date. Power to the system is fed from a dedicated breaker from my home panel, through a light switch which allows me to turn the layout power on and off from one switch. Thanks to my buddy Jack for the idea!

System installed and powered up:


Rramp meter for the helix installed and powered up:


Hullcross Siding Completed

I drove down to Calgary this weekend for Canada’s largest model railway show Supertrain. While at the show, I picked up 30 sticks of Atlas code 83 track, since the Rapido track is 3 to 4 weeks from landing in my basement. Today I finished laying track in the first siding on the upper deck.

Extra 710 south waits at the south end of Hullcross siding


Mid point of siding:


And the north end of the siding, with the helpers cut into the train:


So with the siding complete I can fit a 20 car train into it with 3 road units, 2 helpers, and a caboose. The train pictured is 22 cars long, so I figure I’ll set the typical length of mainline freights at 20 cars, which works out pretty good since the max train length on the Dawson Creek branch is 10 cars. Trains on the upper deck feed and transport cars from the Dawson branch, so a 20 car train should work out ok. Next up is to start stringing bus wire and build some more bench work!

Helix Complete (pretty much) plus the High Line

Another milestone was reached today, the helix frame is complete! I still need to lay one more loop of track but finally the monster is constructed!


Now the track curving off to the right of the image, that will be the mainline to Prince George. Why so high you ask? Well, I wanted to avoid a duck under, since the biggest problem with a duck under is operators forget to duck! The area on the lower level under the “bridge” will have the Chetwynd yard lead as well as some industry tracks. Here you can see the future site of the yard lead and spur to the lumber mill:


The 1X4 that is sitting on the lower deck was not planned, but I need it to take out some flex in the plywood bridge. I’ll end up hiding it behind a building/oil tank/ picture of Kate Upton’s boobs or something like that.

The mainline leaving the top of the helix is 6 feet from the floor level, which looks pretty cool!


The track will drop to 60″ or so on the upper deck before it gets to Pinesul. I’ve got a siding to build on the top deck to give trains a place to meet too, and I think I’ll call it Hulcross. The real Hulcross siding was south of Pinesul, but I need it on the other side to prevent a bottle neck of trains waiting to use the helix.


Fancy Electronics and More!

Got a package today from Tony’s Train Exchange. I ordered a DCC Specialties PSX4, Tortoise Buddy Seniors, and a couple RR Ramp meters.


The PSX4 contains 4 circuit breakers on one board. I’ll need a total of 7 power districts on the layout, so in the future I’ll order one of their PSX2’s as well as a PSXAR (auto reverser)


The tortoise buddies are for controlling the switch machines, and the RR Ramp meters measure Volts and Amps on each power district. I plan on mounting the meters on the helix frame to provide short detection


And my good flunk- er I mean friend Dave came over the other night and we threw up some hardboard:

This is a full 4X8 foot sheet of 1/8″ hardboard in the corner, really doesn’t look that big!

lower corner hardboard

And we started on the lower level bench work. You are looking at the site of the yard lead for ChetwyndCHETWYND YARD LEAD

And the helix is still growing. A few more loops and it will be finished!

helix growing


Upper Deck Work

Today I finished framing part of the upper deck, as well as installing some 1/8″ Masonite back drops. The upper deck section shown in the photo will become the siding at Hulcross. I need a siding at this portion of the upper deck since it will take some time for trains to climb the helix, which creates the need for the siding on the upper level.

backdrop start