George, Wow, at this point, and Im saying from the beginning of your thread, your room size, your attention to detail, peg board for tools/supplies, your kind helping wife, your organizational skills, and plan of action, are coming together nicely. It’s fun to follow folks building a Dream layout and capturing their thoughts of execution. We all buy lumber, tools, trains, Track, and it’s fun to see how each model railroader builds their layout. Everyone’s different.....I must say, your bridges, background pictures, ideas, are awesome, and your layouts going to be exciting. Now I will critique the next few pages when I get to the present. Thank you for sharing your talents with us here on a The OGR Forum. 

Well, I tried posting the above message at the end of page 12, whoops, so, from page 11 through this point, it’s just Fantastic. I do not know if you’ve been following Gunrunner Johns new pike, but your layout and his are super. I will be following both of you as each of you have super modeling skills.  All layouts, layout rooms, take on their very individual atmosphere, all different, all fun to visit. You learn from everybody.....Great workmanship, Great Thread. It’s going to be a fun to run layout....Happy Railroading 

leapinlarry posted:

George, Wow, at this point, and Im saying from the beginning of your thread, your room size, your attention to detail, peg board for tools/supplies, your kind helping wife, your organizational skills, and plan of action, are coming together nicely. It’s fun to follow folks building a Dream layout and capturing their thoughts of execution. We all buy lumber, tools, trains, Track, and it’s fun to see how each model railroader builds their layout. Everyone’s different.....I must say, your bridges, background pictures, ideas, are awesome, and your layouts going to be exciting. Now I will critique the next few pages when I get to the present. Thank you for sharing your talents with us here on a The OGR Forum. 

Larry,

You are far too kind.  I'm not particularly talented.  I'm a plodder.  I'm mechanical and methodical.  And slow - oh so slow!  There are a lot of vastly more talented modelers here on OGR.

But thank you for your kind words.

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

Updated 7/8/2019:

Today I added the vertical supports for the sub-roadbed. They will also hold up the masonite sections that support the foam.
By the way, the drawing is out of date. The track centers along the straight segment are not 4 5/8" apart - they are 4.25".

Table 22a

Here are the vertical supports. The first one is closest to the Stone Arch (just off camera to the left).

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The second photo is of this same vertical support from below.

DSCN6145

In order to give them maximum strength, I used 3" screws to attach the vertical 2"x2" from above and below as well as wood glue.  Finally, I marked them done.

I guess you could say the were glued, screwed, and tattooed.    

DSCN6146

More when I know it.  

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

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Dave NYC Hudson PRR K4 posted:

Slow and steady wins the race as they say George. Consistent is good too. What's with the "Mother" written on that one piece of wood? Guessing it doesn't mean what I first thought it did. I thought it meant it was a PITA to make and place.

I guess it's a bad joke when you have to explain it.     "Mother" on the wood was a reference to the phrase "glued, screwed, and tattooed".  

Oh well.  Guess I shouldn't quit my day job.  

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

G3750 posted:
Dave NYC Hudson PRR K4 posted:

Slow and steady wins the race as they say George. Consistent is good too. What's with the "Mother" written on that one piece of wood? Guessing it doesn't mean what I first thought it did. I thought it meant it was a PITA to make and place.

I guess it's a bad joke when you have to explain it.     "Mother" on the wood was a reference to the phrase "glued, screwed, and tattooed".  

Oh well.  Guess I shouldn't quit my day job.  

George

Lol, too funny George.

Updated 7/11/2019:

Today, I am tackling the horizontal supports for the Pennsy cross-section.  Here's the latest (hopefully correct plan (drawing).  Track centers for parallel tracks in the straight sections are 3.75" apart.  

Table 25

OK, so here's the actual.  In this photo, I am positioning the horizontal support for the masonite that will hold the stryofoam scenery.  The carpenter's square shows a depth of 3" from the top of sub-roadbed, but it will be 3.25" to account for the depth of the foam.

DSCN6149

This photo shows a test-fitting or mock-up of how the 1/8" masonite fascia will mate to the benchwork (bottom) and the cross-member.  Width should be a uniform 18".  I used a piece of cardboard to stand-in for the masonite.

DSCN6150

More when I know it.  

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

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Updated 7/18/2019:

Yesterday I acquired the 12 gauge stranded wire (500' spools) of Red and Black for the track power buses.  I also picked up 300 Scotchlok IDC 567 connectors (AKA suitcase connectors).  They will be used to splice the GarGraves pigtails (16 gauge) to the 12 gauge bus.  Here's a test crimp.

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I installed two more vertical supports and the cross-arms to hold the foam scenery. The cross-arms are positioned so that the fascia can be screwed to them when the time comes to install it.

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More when I know it.  

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

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Updated 7/20/2019:

Today I installed the plywood flooring supports for the styrofoam track side embankments. The original intent was to use 1/4" masonite, but it seemed too flimsy. I ended up doubling the number of vertical supports & cross-beams for this, thinking that would be enough for the masonite. Ultimately, I decided that wouldn't work and used plywood. If worse comes to worse, I can stand on it. Let's hope that never becomes necessary.

Here's a 3/4s view from over head of the rear-most flooring.
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This is a view from straight on (front to rear).
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In this photo you can see the flooring edge-wise.
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Here's another edge-wise view of the end of the flooring. I took this by reaching the camera through the Stone Arch.
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Finally, here's a shot of the front flooring in place. Note that the cross-arms extend out from the rear wall to the depth of the layout (and fascia).
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More when I know it.  

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

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Updated 7/23/2019:

Not much to actually show you, but yesterday I did pull 80’ of red and 80’ of black 12 gauge wire off their spools and cable tied them together. That’s the bus for the River Route.  I also calculated the lengths of the remaining 7 buses and finalized the location of the power distribution panel. It’s directly under the hatch.

This evening I pulled the 50' (red & black wires) of the Steubenville bus.

The organization of components on the 2’ x 6’ power distribution panel is still in flux.

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

Updated 8/11/2019:

While I haven’t posted much, I have been busy on a number of fronts.

The power distribution panel has been laid out. It’s 2’ x 8’ and will be installed near the access hatch. Electrical parts, wire, and connectors have been acquired. Work on this has been progressing. I sold two BPC’s that I didn’t need and acquired the one TPC that I did need.  I anticipate the arrival of the TPC on Wednesday.

While I don't run DCS and therefore don't need "magic" light bulbs, I have equipped each district with a light bulb to indicate power is flowing through it.  The panel will be mounted vertically under the layout.  It will be too dark to read meters under the layout and these will give me a quick indication of status.  Panel wiring for 3 of the 8 power districts has been completed.

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

Dave NYC Hudson PRR K4 posted:

Yeah, it has been a bit. Always gets busy in August no matter where you are in life. That's the way it seems to me anyhow.

My August has been a mixed bag.  I've been enjoying some day trips, but it's going to get much busier.  I've accepted an adjunct professor position teaching 2 computer science courses; that starts at the end of the month.  Between that and the hobby shop job, layout building time is going to be severely curtailed.  The leisurely pace is over.  I'm just going to have to do more with the time available.  I have a deadline of May 2020 to get trains running.  NMRA MCR Division 2 is hosting the regional convention at the end of May next year and I want the layout ready for tours.

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

Updated 8/20/2019:

I've been busy working on the Power Distribution Panel - the board that will hold all the circuitry and distribute power to all 8 districts. I had been making great progress. In fact, yesterday I completed the board. I decided that the prudent thing to do was test it thoroughly before mounting it vertically under the layout and it's a good thing I did. Briefly, here's what's on the board:

  • Command Base, 3 DZ-2001 Data Wire Drivers (for switches), an Action Recorder Controller (ARC), and 2 Accessory Motor Controllers (AMC)
  • 4 Track Power Controllers (TPCs) for Districts 1, 6, 7, 8, respectively. Districts 1 & 6 use TPC-300s and districts 7 & 8 have TPC-400s.
  • Each power district is equipped with a fuse and a light bulb wired into the circuit as an indicator.
  • Each district receives power from either a PowerHouse 135 or a PowerHouse 180. Districts 1 & 6 have the PH135s; the rest are all powered by PH180s.

Testing revealed that both TPC-300s and one of the TPC-400s would accept ID numbers, but would not send power to the track terminal blocks in either Conventional or Command modes. I verified this using a voltmeter as well as observing the dark light bulb. I re-read the directions, watched a Lionel YouTube video, and attempted this more than 5 times. No success, although I briefly did get voltage readings of 1-8 volts at one point.  This is all documented in a thread on the TMCC subforum about setting operating voltages to a TPC.

The other TPC-400, which I just bought, was reportedly of low mileage and in good condition. It's exhibiting the same behavior as the TPC-300s.

My original TPC-400, which I purchased new 15 years ago, works perfectly.

At this point, I think the TPCs are just doorstops.  Lionel no longer makes them and they are extremely expensive. The follow-on product is called a Legacy Powermaster. It does pretty much all that the TPC does except that a physical slider switch much be used to set it to either Conventional or Command mode. The TPC could be switched via CAB-1 button press. Also, the Legacy Powermaster is wireless and does not require COMM and DAT cables from the Command Base.  Fortunately, the Legacy Powermaster has a street price in the $70-80 range. New TPC's, if they can be found at all, will be at least twice that, if not more.

Well, that's the latest. At best, the new Legacy Powermasters may fit in the spots currently occupied by the TPCs. At worst, I've got major wiring surgery to do.

More when I know it.  

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

Updated 8/21/2019:

Regarding the power distribution panel, I plan to move the working TPC-400 to District 1 (the River Route). That will eliminate wiring changes to that area of the board.  And it will allow me to switch between Conventional (for the kids' and non-command equipped trains) and Command using the CAB-1. Districts 6, 7, and 8 will get new Legacy Powermasters, which will be set to Command mode via the slider switch.

That looks like a win-win scenario to me.  

More when I know it.  

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

Updated 8/30/2019:

Ran my first preliminary test of the new Legacy Powermaster for District 6.  This device is connected to a PowerHouse 135 whose connector I repaired.  The test went very well.  The Powermaster took its address programming without incident and came up correctly at 20VAC.  I will probably set the maximum power to the track at 18VAC.

The assembly of the Molex connector for the PowerHouse also proceeded without incident.  So far, so good.

More when I know it.   

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

Updated 9/01/2019:

I completed the wiring and testing of the Power Distribution Panel today. I am just about ready to hang it up under the layout. I also took a cut at layout out the board that will go on top of the transformer cart and hold the transformers and all power strips.

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

Updated 9/03/2019:

My wife and I did the final test of the Power Distribution Panel this evening. The TPC and 3 Powermasters are putting out between 18.6 and 18.9 VAC. I substituted 24V light bulbs for the 18V ones; these are used to indicate power flowing to each district. After completing the test, we lifted the panel onto the transformer cart and pushed it to its location under the layout. We lifted it on edge, propped it in place, and screwed it to the benchwork support 1"x 4s" running along the back wall.

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Power Districts are 1-8 (left to right).

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Installed under the layout.

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Here's the transformer cart with its new decking.

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More when I know it.  

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

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Updated 9/04/2019:

I worked on the transformer cart over the last 2 days.  First, came the design.  This is a top view showing the cart's deck and then the cart.

20190901 Transformer Cart

Tonight I was able to knock out all the components except for the two PowerHouse 180's being delivered to me at York.

DSCN6821

Here's a look at the bottom shelf of the cart.  It holds all the DC power supplies - (left to right) 3VDC, 5VDC, 12VDC.  There's plenty of room for additional ones if required.  Yes, that's a book end at the right.  I keep the Panhandle reference manual down there.

DSCN6822

Might be time to move on to the scenery surrounding the Ohio River!  

More when I know it.   

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

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Updated 9/05/2019:

I moved the transformer cart into position next to the power distribution panel and pulled the buses for the western districts (River Route, Steubenville, PRR Bridge - Westbound, PRR Bridge - Eastbound). Neither the buses nor transformers are connected at this point, but everything is ready for that to take place at later time.

DSCN6823

I am declaring victory on this task and now intend to turn my attention to:

  • Scenery just east of the bridge (long straight approach)
  • Scenery around the Stone Arch and the eastern river bank
  • Installation and electrical wiring of the bridge piers (after removing the bridge)
  • Installation of a portion of the River Route subroadbed, track, and tunnel portal
  • Scenery around the western river bank
  • Painting and detailing the river bottom and both banks
  • Pouring the river

 

More when I know it.  

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

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Mark Boyce posted:

George, the power cart looks great!  Is the intention of the cart, just to move it out of the way for additions and maintenance, or am I missing something?

Thanks Mark. 

The idea behind the cart is to have a place to sit the PH180s and other transformers.  They are too heavy to hang vertically and they don't have mounting holes anyway.  All PowerHouse 180 and 135 transformers are easily disconnected from the power distribution panel using wired connectors.  The K-Line PowerChief 120Fs are connected to their buses via Pomona banana plugs.  I will leave enough wire to allow me to pivot the cart out of the way.  If anything serious has to be done to the board, I can simply disconnect all the transformers and roll it away.

Panhandle 1 had a transformer cart; I reused and enlarged it for this version.

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

Mark Boyce posted:

George, I did not realize the Powerhouses were that heavy and not intended to be hung.  I will be making some kind of cart for my Z4000 as well sometime.  Quick disconnect is a good idea too.

Yeah, they are quite hefty.  Of course, the Z-4000 is no lightweight, either.  You'll need a cart or a table.  You should check out garage sales for something.  I'll bet you come up with one that works.

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

Updated 9/20/2019:

Things have been jumping around here, so here's a catch-up. Last Friday (9/13) I visited my sister and brother-in-law in Erie. The next day I gave a clinic at the Division 12 Mini Meet up there. The topic was an updated version of "Building the Panhandle 2.0". Sunday was our own Division's (2) monthly meeting. I am happy to report that my Spahn's milk truck took 1st place in the Bring-N-Brag (category was vehicles).

20101029 041

<dl class="file"><dd>Later this week, I began planning the River Route bench work - a necessary first step to constructing the tunnel portal and the track and scenery of the Ohio's western shore. I have installed the wall support for the first section of bench work. Today, I cleaned up the RR-Track plan for the layout as follows:</dd></dl>
  • Accurately drew the River Route bench work
  • Moved all items to their correct drawing layers
  • Renumbered the switches accurately on the plan


I am in the process of taking inventory and marking the remaining plywood sections for their respective table numbers. I hope to get some table construction done tomorrow. Sunday (after church) is reserved for class preparation.

More when I know it.  

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

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Updated 9/23/2019:

I've been working on the bench work for the River Route.

For this part of the bench work, I decided to use 1"x2"s instead of 2"x2".
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Here's an end view.
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Here's where the River Route bench work will go.
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Here's a shot of it mounted in place.
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And another of the end view. Track subroadbed (2 x 5/8" or 1.25") will meet the top of the River Route bench work (at least that's the plan).
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More when I know it.  

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

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