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@NJCJOE posted:

So, when I came up with the design for the new layout, I wanted a way to create some cohesiveness between the O gauge and standard gauge portions of the layout, especially since the O gauge crosses directly over the standard gauge. I decided to make the scenery on both layouts similar, realistic and detailed. You can see my intent by the previous post about the river construction.

I decided one way to add some realism to the standard gauge layout was through the use of ballast. Not many people ballast their standard gauge track. During my decision on what to use for ballast, I realized something I always knew but never really had to contend with because my previous layouts were all toy train like layouts. Standard gauge is not set to any scale. Just look at the size between a State set coach verses a Blue Comet coach.

This was something that really challenged me when it came to finding the right ballast. There are some companies that make G scale ballast, but for the amount I needed it would be cost prohibitive. Turkey grit was another possibility. However, all the bags I found locally were opaque, not allowing me to see what it looked like and a lot of poultry grit is pinkish to attract the birds, not something I wanted.

I went into Home Depot and found a bag of stone used for concrete aggregate. There was one bag ripped open on the shelf and even though the stone varied in size, it looked like it would work. I bought a bag and brought it home. The stone was very dirty and had to be rinsed off multiple times. I then took a small section of tack mounted on some scrap Homasote and glued the ballast in place. I was not happy with the result. The stone sizes varied too much for my taste.

Next, I headed over to a local stone center and found some 1B grey stone, which looked like it would work. I purchased two five gallon buckets of the stone. I had to wash this stone as well. After looking it over, I discovered it was the same stone I bought from Home Depot in the bag.

At this point I started to think maybe ballast for the standard gauge is not a good choice. I then came up with the idea of sifting out the small fines and the large stones to see if I could be left with a stone size I was happy with.

This turned out to be a few step process. First, the stone had to be washed. I did this over a piece of aluminum window screen. This flushed out all the fines and stone dust.

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I then dumped the clean stone into a sifting pan I bought from Amazon. I came with different size sieves. I selected a size and sifted the large stones out.

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After sifting the two buckets and one bag of stone, I was left with about two five gallon pails worth of stone.

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The stone was then spread out on a tarp to dry for a few days. I was pretty happy with the ballast and figured it would create the illusion I was looking for, so that is what I went with.

The ballast was poured over the track and sides with a small garden shovel. I then used a paint brush to level it out and get it into place. The ballast was sprayed with wet water (water with a few drops of liquid soap). I then mixed Elmer’s Glue-All glue and water at a ratio of 1 part glue to 3 parts water and poured it over the ballast. It took two applications of the glue, a few days apart, in order to completely glue everything in place. This was due to the size of the ballast and the large voids between pieces. Make sure you use Elmer’s Glue-All and not their School Glue. They are not the same. I used the School Glue on the test piece and could not keep the glue and water mixed.

So, now all the track is ballasted. I used about eight to nine gallons of stone on the layout. I still have about 1-1/2 gallons left over. The total coast for the stone material……..about $16. It took some time and work, but I like the end result.

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You are doing a fantastic job!  Would love to come see it in person some day!

12/23/22 - Not too much has been done recently. Just running trains to make sure everything is working properly before I start the O gauge portion of the layout come the new year.

I did do a little scenery and detail work around the station. It's amazing how sometimes little changes can make a big difference.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS

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NJCJOE, Joe, the red “Mikes Diner” is really a great idea, possibly it’s a standard gauge passenger car body and it makes a good focal point on your awesome layout. To me, tinplate trains and accessories are uniquely nostalgic and make a model railroad colorful and fun to view. Your layout is a work of art. Merry Christmas and Happy Railroading Everyone

1/31/23 - The O gauge portion of the layout has been started. I built the section that goes over the standard gauge layout. This section measures 14'-3" by 3'-7". I constructed this bench work in a box style frame using 1"x3" lumber. The joists are approximately 12" o.c. I built it this way to minimize the O gauge layout height, while providing sufficient clearance for the standard gauge trains. The floor to top of bench work height is approximately 36-1/2". Track risers, roadbed and track will increase this height accordingly.

I installed a bunch of 2"x2" and some 2"x3" legs to support the bench work. A screw was installed into the bottom of each leg from under the standard gauge layout to securely anchor it. There is about 8-1/2" of clearance from the top of the standard gauge track to the bottom of this bench work. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks construction will start on the remaining bench work sections.

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Wow, @NJCJOE, I really like your carpentry work and the grid addition added for your O gauge trains. Your empire is so amazing and this will be the icing on the cake. I think you have an awesome train room and with Tinplate bright colors, your accessories and bridges, signs, it’s uniquely beautiful. I would imagine your Standard gauge and O gauge are mostly Tinplate, so it’s going to be so colorful and you are the Designer. Thank you for the updates and keep pictures coming. Happy Railroading Everyone

@Richie C. the rear rail is not screwed to the wall. There is a slight gap there. I did the same thing with the standard gauge layout. Some people feel attaching to the wall creates more mass and lessens noise, others feel it generates more noise up through the wall. I decided to let it float.

The wiring will either be run down the center underneath through pipe hangers like I did for the standard gauge, except smaller (see photo). Or, I may run the wiring under the standard gauge and pop up to the O gauge where needed.

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@NJCJOE posted:

@Richie C. the rear rail is not screwed to the wall. There is a slight gap there. I did the same thing with the standard gauge layout. Some people feel attaching to the wall creates more mass and lessens noise, others feel it generates more noise up through the wall. I decided to let it float.

The wiring will either be run down the center underneath through pipe hangers like I did for the standard gauge, except smaller (see photo). Or, I may run the wiring under the standard gauge and pop up to the O gauge where needed.

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I think you're right about letting the rear rail float and the pipe hangers are a nice touch.

@NJCJOE posted:

The wiring will either be run down the center underneath through pipe hangers like I did for the standard gauge, except smaller (see photo). Or, I may run the wiring under the standard gauge and pop up to the O gauge where needed.

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I use the pipe / conduit holders as well.  I usually leave one side unscrewed so I can run the wire and then slip it in.  It's a good solution for hanging wire though regardless of 1 or 2 screws..

@NJCJOE posted:

@Richie C. the rear rail is not screwed to the wall. There is a slight gap there. I did the same thing with the standard gauge layout. Some people feel attaching to the wall creates more mass and lessens noise, others feel it generates more noise up through the wall. I decided to let it float.

The wiring will either be run down the center underneath through pipe hangers like I did for the standard gauge, except smaller (see photo). Or, I may run the wiring under the standard gauge and pop up to the O gauge where needed.

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I like your benchwork - fully adequate without waste or needless expense.  I use the conduit hangers too - a cheap and easy way to keep the wiring neat.  My first reaction when seeing that picture is "did I post a view under my layout?".

My tip re the conduit hangers... do the initial installation with only one screw, and leave it slightly loose - makes it easier to install the wires.  After the wiring is done, install the second screw and tighten both of them.

Joe,

First of all, cool new profile photo. Secondly, this looks like a great start to the second part of the your layout. Generally speaking, I like how you have taken us through each phase of your new layout, starting with the beautiful room it's located in. It has been very exciting and educational to watch. My mind can't help but wonder, where will it be at this same time next year. Keep the wonderful work coming.

Dave

Thanks Dave.

It's funny you say that about where the layout progress will be a year from now. Sometimes I feel the progress is moving along slowly. I then have to remind myself that I only started the layout a year ago. So I'm happy with what I have accomplished so far.

BTW, I just back from the lumber yard.......so stay tuned.

@NJCJOE posted:

It's funny you say that about where the layout progress will be a year from now. Sometimes I feel the progress is moving along slowly. I then have to remind myself that I only started the layout a year ago. So I'm happy with what I have accomplished so far.

For the record, your pace kicks my pace's ***. 

Steven J. Serenska

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