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What have you done to improve your Model Railroad Infrastructure?

You can share not only what you did, but how much it cost, and how you were able to negotiate the deal.

As I recently mentioned on another thread, I improved my Model Railroad Infrastructure 2 days ago by hiring a plumber to eliminate a leak near an 031 switch. The leak occurred during the rinse cycle of a washing machine where exiting water emptied into a copper pipe. Here is a photo showing the problem pipe and hose on the upper right .

20200223_080108

This infrastructure project was a smashing success, and my wife and I are very happy about it. Now, I no longer have to place, and wring out, towels when the wash is done, and we can do the laundry anytime without puddles accumulating on the floor of the basement, and water splashing onto the 031 switch.

The plumber replaced the hose and pipe with a better hose and wider pipe, and before he did, he removed an accumulation of gunk in another pipe that the copper pipe emptied into.

Another infrastructure project that the plumber did was replace an inoperable sump pump with a new one that works, which is in a hole underneath the washing machine. We also have French drains around the basement walls.

More details: this infrastructure project cost $850, and took about 4 hours of the plumber's time.

It was important for the long term well being of my trains and layout that my basement is as dry as possible with minimal dampness and humidity. I believe that eliminating the leak, the new sump pump, the French drains and the dehumidifier have accomplished this.

Now, its your turn. Tell us about your model railroad infrastructure projects. Arnold

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Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari
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My layout moved from the living room to the basement room several years back. The room is under the garage. Snow andsalt brought in by the car melts and finds its way down. But I bought a garage mat, extending it beyond the door about 6 inches. Now the snow melt is captured on the mat and either drains or is swept out and beyond. I just replaced the mat.

I don't have any pics yet but I'm putting up 2x4 studs along the wall to

  • hide the wires associated with the lights on the layout
  • provide a sturdy anchor for mason for my backdrop
  • even out the wall and make it flat

It was a $300 undertaking! But it was one of those projects that I had time to do it so I spent the money. I have a wedding or event every week from now till October I normally love getting down at weddings but this is a bit much. Either way, I'll be able to paint the ceiling black and start on the table this fall. Exciting times!

@Arnold D. Cribari

You keep coming up with these good ideas for themes of threads, but so many of our friends are busy this summer doing other outdoor exercises….
keep the ideas flowing 😄

As for my contribution, My train room is in a second floor of a shop building I built with retirement in mind. It has a bench dormer for added height and room for the layout. With two dormers and windows in front and two windows in the rear there’s lots of added sunlight and heat from the wonderful rays.

So after six years I finally hung window blinds in all five windows, a window in the eve,  I purchased the blinds on sale from Lowe’s four years ago. They are the new ones without the wands. My guess they totaled over $100.

Now, I rarely need to turn on the air conditioning in the late afternoon. The blinds are added insulation by blocking the rays from the trains.  A savings on the monthly power bill.

When I built the shop building I installed a through the wall heat pump.  I wish it was a central heat pump now because of the space the one from the wall takes up  from  the layout.  Something I mentioned to help the next train guy who builds his retirement shop.

I though I had everything figured out…

One more thing about my model railroad infrastructure:

A small area of my backdrop got damaged that is behind, and just to the right of, the 031 switch in the area where the leak was. Fortunately, I saved scraps of the excess backdrop.

This morning, I cut a small piece of the backdrop scrap, and applied rubber cement to cover the damaged backdrop with the scrap. I will post photos of the covered backdrop later.

Another great topic discussion Arnold. Your creative thinking must come from many years of dealing with spouses at each others throats.

When I saw the topic I immediately thought of your birds nest wiring and that you were ripping it all out and starting over.

Guess not huh? I'm glad you got the piping fixed. Wouldn't want any floods on the George Washing Machine Bridge!

I guess in my case you could say that claiming the air rights over the file cabinets counts. Anyone who lives near/in a big city will know what I'm talking about.

2018-01-30 19.49.00

Bob

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@RSJB18 posted:

Another great topic discussion Arnold. Your creative thinking must come from many years of dealing with spouses at each others throats.

When I saw the topic I immediately thought of your birds nest wiring and that you were ripping it all out and starting over.

Guess not huh? I'm glad you got the piping fixed. Wouldn't want any floods on the George Washing Machine Bridge!

I guess in my case you could say that claiming the air rights over the file cabinets counts. Anyone who lives near/in a big city will know what I'm talking about.

2018-01-30 19.49.00

Bob

Bob, This is a neat layout, I love that KW and the switch controls!

I noticed in your avatar picture it looks well lit up with the room lights turn off. Any chance of a pic with it in that state?!

@MELGAR posted:

Bob,

Your transformer, switch controllers and Lionel Lines steamer bring back memories of my layout of the 1950s. Very nice! As for infrastructure, how do you access the track along the back wall?

MELGAR

Like this Mel It helps that I'm 6'5" with an 8' reach.

2021-01-31 16.08.43

@H1000 posted:

Bob, This is a neat layout, I love that KW and the switch controls!

I noticed in your avatar picture it looks well lit up with the room lights turn off. Any chance of a pic with it in that state?!

2018-01-30 19.49.35

I have to take some new photos. A lot has changed since this was taken. My avatar pic was from Christmas a couple of years ago with some Evans Designs LED strings lit up.

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@RSJB18 posted:

Like this Mel It helps that I'm 6'5" with an 8' reach.

2021-01-31 16.08.43

2018-01-30 19.49.35

I have to take some new photos. A lot has changed since this was taken. My avatar pic was from Christmas a couple of years ago with some Evans Designs LED strings lit up.

Hi RSJB18, I love it, it's a homemade version of what Micro-Mark sells! Your homemade version takes up less space though. Nicely done! ;-)

@Richie C. posted:

Now this could really solve your infrastructure issues ....



EXPANDING THE LAYOUT

This guy must be in agony!!!   

Here is what I started with.  This was our older daughter's art and craft room as she was starting to pack it up.  Yes she does spin both sheep wool and alpaca wool.  If she was able to pack that much stuff in an 11x11 room, I figured I could fit an O gauge layout in.

2016-08-30 22.43.19

Here it is after she evacuated.  I temporarily used the shelving to stash some rolling stock.  I have sold a lot of what is on those shelves.

2016-12-29 23.13.372016-12-29 23.15.032016-12-29 23.15.36

Basically all I did was take the shelves down, patch and paint the walls, and started building the layout.  I really didn't spend much on that at all.  Here we are this summer.

2021-06-05 17.22.562021-05-12 14.42.182021-05-12 14.36.502021-05-12 14.29.09

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Late spring i added black landscape fabric to the ceiling joists around the layout but not directly above since i have a valence hiding the joists there.  Outcome was a whole lot less dust and an overall cleaner look to the space.  I will be bumping up the layout lighting but the effect of a dark ceiling and a dark layout skirt makes the layout pop.  So much so i have some scenic work to do this winter.

@necrails posted:

Late spring i added black landscape fabric to the ceiling joists around the layout but not directly above since i have a valence hiding the joists there.  Outcome was a whole lot less dust and an overall cleaner look to the space.  I will be bumping up the layout lighting but the effect of a dark ceiling and a dark layout skirt makes the layout pop.  So much so i have some scenic work to do this winter.

Oh, I forgot, I replaced the incandescent fixture in the center of the ceiling with a brighter LED fixture and added 2 track lighting units.  I need to add a third.  It is much better than the poor light in my first photograph with all my daughter's stuff.

Seth and Bob, regarding the topics I've posted, usually it's a mystery to me how ideas for them come to mind. This reminds me of when I was active writing songs and coming up with subjects and titles for them, which  usually came to me mysteriously.

The title for this Forum topic was not a mystery. When I heard infrastructure  mentioned in the news this morning, I had the amusing thought that model railroaders like us can post how we have developed infrastructure for our layouts, which can inspire our nation's leaders when they vote in Congress on infrastructure.

Getting that amusing thought when I listened to the morning news - that is a mystery to me. Arnold

Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari

I have been assembling my modular bench work in my garage in the summers of 2020 & 2021.

I am using LCCA FasTrack module kits with Mianne legs & lower Cross beams.

Also building lower shelves to span the the lower Cross beams (underneath the bench tops).

After the benchwork is stained & sealed, it will be stored temporarily in an off site storage unit while 30 years of clutter is removed from the basement.

I plan to have the basement floor & walls sealed with sky blue epoxy coatings like those used in garages & church basements.  

Progress is happening !!!

Last edited by CBQ_Bill

I'm so glad you folks have enjoyed this thread.

Here is a photo of my new hose and pipe in my basement,  the patchwork I did on the backdrop behind it, and the crane and steam shovel I placed in the vicinity:

20210722_203041

I may replace the construction vehicles with a structure or two that is the right shape and size. I will keep a look out for them at my LHS and future train shows, which will be fun to hunt for.

Of course, the thought occurs to me to paint the black hose and white pipe. I would appreciate input from you folks about that, but I'm inclined not to do it. Maybe I will turn that area into an oil refinery of sorts in which the hose and pipe can kinda blend in. Arnold

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Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari

I'm so glad you folks have enjoyed this thread.

Here is a photo of my new hose and pipe in my basement,  the patchwork I did on the backdrop behind it, and the crane and steam shovel I placed in the vicinity:

20210722_203041

I may replace the construction vehicles with a structure or two that is the right shape and size. I will keep a look out for them at my LHS and future train shows, which will be fun to hunt for.

Of course, the thought occurs to me to paint the black hose and white pipe. I would appreciate input from you folks about that, but I'm inclined not to do it. Maybe I will turn that area into an oil refinery of sorts in which the hose and pipe can kinda blend in. Arnold

Arnold,

Retain the horizontal slope/pitch of the drain pipe but raise the trap closer to the ceiling.  Get it out of the line of sight and glue on some cotton forms for clouds.

Or,  a Hindenburg dirigible encapsulating the pipe

The black hose, somehow position it plumb and wrap brick paper around it as a faux chimney with cotton smoke rising to the sky (ceiling)..

Or,  Create a fire scene at the base of the black hose with a rising cloud of black over sprayed cotton smoke.  You could leave the black hose as positioned due to wind shift of rising smoke.

The waist high water meter was raised a couple of feet then covered with a full size PRR smoke box keystone emblem which now provides clearance for rail access to a staging area in the shop and a whole new town and 8 track TT.

IMG_7919IMG_7920IMG_7932

Additionally, the tank style water heater was switched earlier to a wall hung tankless water heater hug in an out of the way area below the bathrooms which provided room for an additional town and yard.

An infrastructure upgrade we made earlier was to convert an obtrusive vertical 275 gallon fuel oil to a 275 gallon under the layout horizontal fuel tank to make way for a large passenger station and yard covering the entire new out of the way tank.

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@Tom Tee posted:

Arnold,

Retain the horizontal slope/pitch of the drain pipe but raise the trap closer to the ceiling.  Get it out of the line of sight and glue on some cotton forms for clouds.

Or,  a Hindenburg dirigible encapsulating the pipe

The black hose, somehow position it plumb and wrap brick paper around it as a faux chimney with cotton smoke rising to the sky (ceiling)..

Or,  Create a fire scene at the base of the black hose with a rising cloud of black over sprayed cotton smoke.  You could leave the black hose as positioned due to wind shift of rising smoke.

What brilliant ideas! Thanks Tom! Such creativity is what makes our hobby so much fun. Arnold

Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari

@wild mary

I'm so glad your layout will be accessible for you again. I hope there's restroom facilities on layout level as well. And oh, order your lift without one of those black belts.

Our lift is much simpler to exit since I cut out ours 😆

Enjoy Your new lift and your Western Maryland again!

Speaking of game changers, Cleveland Indians vs. The Guardians.... I don't think I'm as excited....

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