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Hi, I’d like to introduce myself, I’m an aircraft mechanic and aerobatic pilot from northeast pa. Been a closet train nerd my whole life. My great grandfather started our families Lionel layout in the 30s. 2 years ago my dad passed it on to me. Well it’s set up in my basement and I’m addicted. Keep adding things and now working on expanding it. Me and my dad have done all the track work and my lady friend builds the “town”, which is quite unique. We put together a nice video of the layout and our family’s history with it. Figured you might enjoy it. I’ll keep this updated as we modify the layout. Thanks!!

 

chris

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DKQrVU01dc0

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Thanks for enjoying the video.  Been browsing this forum for a little while learning. Going to be pulling some of this up and expanding it. Plus, just got another NW2 that I’m going to rewire the motor so it starts “in reverse” so I can put the two cab to cab. Also going to wire them to both pick up power from the lead locomotive so one doesn’t get out of sequence and while I’m at it wiring them in series.

Well, got the layout all ripped down and rebuilding. Going to have inclines. One is rather steep, it’s a descent and will be hidden in a tunnel.  Main line makes 2 loops around the table with a small yard.  There is an inside loop for the old trains.  We decided to model summer, fall and winter in different sections of the layout and looking forward to the scenery building aspect. 2 mountains with tunnels and a good rock cut as well. The lady is looking forward to rebuilding town and we are eying up some building kits. Putting some of that gray foam roadbed under the track and going to ballast it. Hope to have the road bed down by this weekend. Then going to work on rail power. Going to solder the wire right on the track and figuring every 6 feet or so. I’ll put up some pics tonight

Hi Chris,

I enjoyed your family Christmas video. I particularly like the wall your grandfather built. I have a western town my great-grandfather built in the 20s. These family heirlooms are special.

If your NW2 is postwar with an e unit, it should have a lever underneath to disengage the e unit. You wouldn't need to do any rewiring. Just get the train you want as the b unit running in reverse and while it is running hold it and reach under and move the lever. This will disconnect the e unit and keep it in reverse. Do the same thing with the other unit in forward and you will have your lash up.

@C_Murley posted:

...Going to have inclines. One is rather steep, it’s a descent and will be hidden in a tunnel...

Really enjoy the concept of what you're doing.  

And you've probably already thought of this, but just in case - 'steep descent in a tunnel' - be sure to allow plenty of access.  No matter how well it runs while testing, as soon as it's covered by a tunnel, the gremlins will move in.

So after a kitchen and entranceway project I’m back on the layout. We got all the track wired. Power solder directly to the rail. Now to build the switching control board and then on to mountains, scenery and town. So I love my Williams NW2’s and I have no plan on leaving conventional control so I needed power for the Anthracite Express excursion train. So I picked up a Williams RS3. Man I thought the TBP on the NW2’s was good, this thing sounds fantastic! The DL heads up the valley not far from my house in greenridge, Scranton and I hear those Alcos chugging along every weekend! Anyways, First thing I did was wire the RS3 in series, then lube it and put it to work. The last of my cars arrived today. All atlas O trainman 60’ coaches. Have read mixed reviews but these run great! No issues noted, at all! Enjoy!

 

 

im not all set on Pennsylvania locomotives, but I loved me some black and yellow......

 

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A little update. Gotta wire up the signals then wiring is done. Pressure switches I had won’t work with the foam rail bed so I gotta come up with another idea for that. Got the tunnel structures built with foam board, now to build the mountains around them and on to scenery!  Middle line is for the bump and go trolley. Not on the layout yet but has been tested before building the tunnel!!!  Also gotta make placards for the control panel!

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Nice, really nice!  Your YouTube video put me in the Christmas spirit, and that's still 18 weeks away (but who's counting!)

My only suggestion would be to avoid using cotton balls, especially near the track.  I love snow scenes with trains, and I once built a winter layout myself.  I don't know how you kept that loose cotton of the gears and side rods!  The second year I used a sheet of cotton batting from a craft store.  A few pieces of thin foam under it here and there looked just like snow drifts.  Sprinkle a little of the loose stuff on the roofs of houses, etc., and it looks like a day's worth of melt has occurred.

Really look forward to seeing your progress, especially when it gets decorated.  Thanks for sharing!

Really like the layout and the rapid progress.  Nice use of tubular track, postwar (and similar) trains, and old-school control panel, all in a nice room.  You've provided a lot of ideas for how I can revise my current layout.

In the area at the front of the layout (in the 2nd video) where a lower level track is very close to the risers for the upper level, do you have enough room to add a retaining wall?  The center area looks like a bit of a reach - do you have really long arms, or a topside creeper?  And I really hope those enclosed tunnels work out OK - they're nice, and it looks like you have excellent trackwork, but the universe has a way of focusing on inaccessible areas.

Nice touch having a beverage sitting on the corner.

Your layout is really taking shape nicely.  I was also wondering about your plans for arm's reach to some areas, or do you plan to climb on the layout.  I gave up on climbing on things a couple years ago.  I think I had to do too much of it in my working years.    I love enclosed tunnels, especially if you have any thoughts of using Go Pro or other on board cameras.  Do you have plans for accessing derailments.

My background was scale HO trains as a child and up until I was about 55.  Over the last 8 or 9 years, I have accumulated a small collection of scale offerings mostly from Lionel and MTH.  I love the details, but once the train is moving at any speed at all, I can't see the details.  Your trains look great!  Sometimes I wonder if I will be selling mine at some point and going with post-war and other less detailed semi-scale trains, as I am more clumsy with breaking detail parts.  I really like what you have done, and agree with others, you did a great job with the tinplate track.  It took me some getting used to the third rail of O gauge, so I am also getting used to seeing tinplate track.  All that to say, I am impressed with what you have done!!! 

@Mark Boyce posted:

Your layout is really taking shape nicely.  I was also wondering about your plans for arm's reach to some areas, or do you plan to climb on the layout.  I gave up on climbing on things a couple years ago.  I think I had to do too much of it in my working years.    I love enclosed tunnels, especially if you have any thoughts of using Go Pro or other on board cameras.  Do you have plans for accessing derailments.

My background was scale HO trains as a child and up until I was about 55.  Over the last 8 or 9 years, I have accumulated a small collection of scale offerings mostly from Lionel and MTH.  I love the details, but once the train is moving at any speed at all, I can't see the details.  Your trains look great!  Sometimes I wonder if I will be selling mine at some point and going with post-war and other less detailed semi-scale trains, as I am more clumsy with breaking detail parts.  I really like what you have done, and agree with others, you did a great job with the tinplate track.  It took me some getting used to the third rail of O gauge, so I am also getting used to seeing tinplate track.  All that to say, I am impressed with what you have done!!! 

Mark, I had HO,N,and O guage. Recent!y I focusing on Postwar. I don't have a huge amount of command engines so I'm keeping those I have but from here on it's going to be postwar.

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4AC15AC2-8A76-4E8A-9E84-301250F74EB83E9FA387-D459-4810-9C81-CE663ECF7746F7CACE9A-EAB6-4082-9BD9-EAF966F2B98CThanks for all the comments and for enjoying my layout progress! Some of the questions, I can reach just about all theme way through the tunnels. Could also reach the entire layout. If you see the “hole” in the layout by the pole I can pop up through that and reach the middle. That will have a lid of scenery that can be lifted off if I need to get in there. Avoiding cotton on new scenery, only one mountain will be winter scene. But you’re right those darn side rods sure do like to wrap up in it! Built my coal breaker this weekend. Gotta order some corrugated metal for it and making frosted windows out of bead blasted lexan.  Dollar store foam board is fantastic!!!

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@John A posted:

12 feet of my layout is my dad’s hometown of Swoyersville, PA.  I will take some pics of whole town tomorrow, and post.  Keep an eye out for it. JohnA 

I look forward to seeing this.......although I currently reside in Maryland I am from Swoyersville.......had to smile when I saw the Harry E. and the Roosevelt theater........great memories........ 

Hi Murleys All,

I loved your original post with the story of the history of the layout.  And it appears that now you have been bitten by the year round layout bug!  I loved the mention of Wheeler Ave and other Scranton area things as I was born just up the street, off of Wheeler at Butler St. in Dunmore.  

I saw your mention of coming up with a method to replace pressure switches. Look into insulated outside rail control for your activation needs. 

Your names and faces are familiar; Boys Scouts, If I recall? 

Let me know if I can be of assistance in any way. You can find my email in my profile. 

Earl Trygar  

 

 

 

Wow this went from bare wood to a really nice looking layout really quickly!

I've been sharing some of your photos with my dad to convince him to allow me to build a few more scenic elements. He's pretty set on Plasticville stuff without much tolerance for "scale model" scenery. Your layout proves that things don't need to be over the top crazy detailed to really add a lot of character and personality to the tracks!

Great job!

@rail posted:

Nice progress Chris. Being a miner, I assume you're using real coal in the hoppers?

Hey Don!!  for some reason I never replied to this one. sorry, yep all the coal is from "somewhere" in the northern anthracite field. from the clark vein. smashed it and screened it for the cars. they were full, but have since added false bottoms and just topped them after i started acquiring more hoppers.  i know these williams locos can pull alot but i dont want to beat on them that bad haha!  hmm, i see its also time for some update pics. got a bit more to do this weekend then ill get some up. thanks everyone else for the kind words and enjoying the layout!



Chris

Chris, I  use the coal dregs from my coal bucket for my fireplace coal insert.  I liked the effect also after noticing the sparkle when I went into the coal ' room '.  Just that little bit of fine sparkly dust really works out well.  All I did was apply some craft glue and sprinkled the fine coal overtop of the plastic coal load.

Right now I am able to run my modified Railking Triplex through about a dozen O31s in my over and under 16 × 5' double rail main layout  with the caboose and 23 coal cars .

Have a ball Chris.

Chris, I just reviewed this topic for the first time, and very much enjoyed your videos, photos and comments about the development of your fine layout.

Could you tell me about your ballast? What is it? Where did you get it? Did you buy it, find it, or make it yourself?

I think your ballast looks very good with your hi-rail tubular O Gauge track. My layout has the same track and 022 switches, which I have always preferred to the modern track and switches.

Arnold

4F80DA07-2107-4068-ACE0-7A41DDA38316Thanks guys! Arnold, I was wondering what to use for ballast then I read on here that people have used kitty litter...... then a few days later one of our guys was cleaning up a mess in our hangar with some oil dry and I said.... that’s it!!  So yea, here ya go.......

also Arnold I agree on the track! The modern stuff is really nice, but, running Hirail tubular takes me back to being a kid at my grandparents house. The nostalgia of it ya know! This is a practice layout. We are gonna be moving in about 2 years to the forever home and plan a much larger layout in the basement we of the house we are going to build! But, I will still build it with tubular rail, probably buy it from Menards. Have some of their rail now and it works just fine.

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I go to School parking lots, they have along the sides full of debris that I shovel or scoop levers of dirt into either a Depot or Lowe's Bucket, when home I shift the dirt into a screen then I pour into bottles (juice bottle 32 oz.) two bottle usually I enough to use on layout adhesive white glue and tiny bit of soap. It sticks onto table giving a realistic scenic look....

Kitty Litter, and Oil Dry are a clay product. I've never notice it to swell. Diamatex is also a clay product that is used for infields, and is a suitable material if screened, but it is a yellowish tan, so it would need to be colored. I use fine crushed gray stone from a building supply house. It's known by different names: Moon Dust, Screenings and concrete sand. I sift it through a window screen. I don't remove the fines like some do.

Chris and Chuck, I am also a 100% tubular track guy, 1st with 027 track and switches (now in boxes possibly for grandchildren down the road), and currently O Gauge track and 022 switches.

My love for O Gauge track and switches stems from the trains I admired that an older cousin and an uncle of mine had in the 1950s and early 1960s, similar to the trains Chris admired that his grandparents had.

I gathered my ballast in a similar way that Chuck did. On other threads I previously shared the photos below:

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Those little pebbles are mainly ground up asphalt I found along local roads during long athletic walks, and filled my pockets with. There is also some kitty litter sprinkled in. I was told that kitty litter absorbs liquid, so I only put it outside of, not in between, the rails.

My ballast didn't cost me anything. It was fun finding and getting in.

The pebbles are way too large, but so are the high rails of the O Gauge track, so I think it works. Arnold

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Hi Chris, welcome to the forum, you've come to the right place.  Great video and your new layout looks to be really awesome.  I've been into trains for as long as I can remember and it started when I was a baby.  I also happen to love airplanes too, had my private pilots license but stopped flying when the gas went nuts  and I couldn't afford to fly but every once in a while.  I love your little bi-plane, I'll bet its a blast to fly.  Thanks for sharing your great video and all of your progress on your new layout.

thanks guys, for some reason i just noticed these responses. J.Motts, glad to hear you are enjoying my layout and nice to hear from a fellow Pilot. here ya go, ill take you for a little ride...... 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...amp;feature=youtu.be



JHZ, yea the trolly operation is fun.  we always had one when i was little, this is our old one. my mom gave it to me for testing. it has the slide plate on the bottom instead of rollers and cries a little going over the switch if its going too slow. its also missing the traction tire so it bobbles around a bit. I also noticed the bumper wasnt fastened down yet in the video and it was making the trolley bounce up in the air hahaha. it doesnt do that any more. when i get a chance to pick up the scranton transit trolley from the gift shop at the electric city trolley museum that one should run better as it has 2 pick up rollers. 

545C3884-2248-4387-BCB3-7F3EB52C50980ABC56C2-4458-4B7E-BBB2-76BFAA9D6B35768C9F32-47E9-4E71-9BD1-CD2661413708Plugging along on scenery. Here’s some progress from the weekend. Should have the middle almost wrapped up this week. Then on to the big mountain and figure out what I want to do to the coal breaker and yard area there, as well as that mountain. Also, scooped up another Conrail nw2 for the coal train. They look great mu-ed together like they did here in anthracite country! They used multiple switcher units cause the track was so poor, or so I’ve been told. Anyways here’s some pics......



chris

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Chris,

Loved the video.  I flew with a friend in his Piper Cherokee quite a few times out of Forty Fort and once visited Sky Haven (touch and go). We flew  over the length of Susquehanna a number of times. My favorite route was heading west near Berwick and flying along the mountain ranges toward State College. The Finger Lakes are cool too. I'm not licensed but took the yoke many times once in the air and clear of approaches of any air strips.  He has since retired, sold the plane and moved out west. Most of the time we left right after church so I was still in my collar. My friend got a lot of ribbing from other pilots about bringing his priest along when we stopped somewhere for a Hundred Dollar Hamburger. I sure miss those Sunday afternoons.   

I posted my 4x8 home layout here under the 48Club.  Its small, but does the job until our club can  open up again.



Earl   

Plugging along. Got the roads in and the center all cleaned up. Just gotta get some trees and then the cover is ready to go down for the hole in the middle. As mentioned in the “buy anything cool lately” thread, I got my Scranton Transit trolley and a MTH SW1 that I’m going to have repainted into PNER 601. Now it’s running on the inner loop for a bit. Anyways, enjoy......

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@C_Murley posted:

545C3884-2248-4387-BCB3-7F3EB52C50980ABC56C2-4458-4B7E-BBB2-76BFAA9D6B35768C9F32-47E9-4E71-9BD1-CD2661413708Plugging along on scenery. Here’s some progress from the weekend. Should have the middle almost wrapped up this week. Then on to the big mountain and figure out what I want to do to the coal breaker and yard area there, as well as that mountain. Also, scooped up another Conrail nw2 for the coal train. They look great mu-ed together like they did here in anthracite country! They used multiple switcher units cause the track was so poor, or so I’ve been told. Anyways here’s some pics......



chris

Magic! I want a tunnel and a side grade like this when I build my permanent layout. I want a crane setting something near the topside of the tunnel too. I’ll post a real life photo in May to better explain this last comment. Thank you for sharing all of this fun!

One step closer! Got the perimeter installed and painted around 75% of the layout and then got to finish up blast and some scenic work! Now on to the coal breaker, the yard, and the mountain in that area of the layout. Then finally install the finishing touch of The Fence!

my new to me geep has about an hour of run time on it now. Doesn’t quite have the tractive effort as my RS3..... go figure ;-) DL guys would be proud haha! Anyways putting it through some trials before sending it out for repaint. More on that later.....

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C Murley - I thought you were a switcher guy - that doesn't look much like a switcher. Next thing you know you are going to grab one of the big engines that needs 072 minimum and then major surgery on the layout - just like what happened to me.  Fell in love with the big scale engines - no going back. No regrets either - or is it regerts?  ; )

Haha! Switcher guy all the way! Especially local switchers! The Geep I guess is a road switcher and will be sent out for repaint into a locomotive I had seen running around the valley when I was younger. How do you pick locomotives? I’ve decided to pick ones that mean something to me. So, I’m modeling Pocono Northeast and Reading and Northern on my layout.  Not a “normal” roster but it’s a good thing we got people that love to repaint locomotives! So, keep an eye out here for some 1980’s NEPA switchers!

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A little more action! Got the “plug” made for the middle of the layout. That’s where the north East PA WARM radio station lives. Still have to assemble the antenna. Anyways happy with how it turned out and it’s fit. For maintenance, for the most part it can just lift out. Also, I picked up a new car last week. Was gonna put it in the “buy anything cool” thread but will stick it here. It’s just a simple Erie Lackawanna Lumber Car, but means a lot to me. One cause the EL ran through these parts, and two the labeling. I know it’s a MTH car and mikes last name is wolf but that’s also my business. My main job is building custom wooden wing sets for aerobatic aircraft. My company is wolf aircraft products. So this is a shipment of raw spruce stock headed my way 😎8E6747AB-790B-4283-A76B-0428083F1D4763787C90-0207-4D3E-A196-A6D5F997537A09ED4252-C0B4-4034-97AF-0ED58B8BDE0E7AA88A46-A8CE-4331-8B9A-46B599DE3FE1

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78551712-1DCF-43D1-87CC-0843BED3576EA31D9287-0F00-4F02-ABED-0A53D138DEEEAE41BE60-2BCB-4609-AD11-CD3E567EA561CB17BACE-891E-4ECA-8A7F-5B37EC78090669DAEADE-987A-482E-9190-9C060774D93E09B3F0F0-4B15-421F-A42F-4A906A7B97542F8E4D6F-F0E4-4B30-9EEF-75EC522C7E2AEBE88437-F5A2-4D67-AB4A-0AF1EA6B43205CDD034F-CB94-4577-8BAD-2918BB1612B2Coal Breaker is finished! UGM anthracite is our contract anthracite mining company. It was a fun project! Also the dock and laser cut building was a lot of fun to build and Rebekah enjoyed painting and weathering them! Not bad for a first try! I see more of those kits in our future! Also preparing the fence for installation! Dad and I are putting that up after the great turkey feast next week! Anyways, enjoy!

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