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I spent a long time planning my layout. I realy got into the layout construction phase after winter settled in here inNorthernNew YorkState (and after my wife threatened to use my train room for quilting if I didn't get moving!) My lower level basically consists of a folded dogbone with the right side containing a five track yard and a ladder track, and the left loop containing a reversing loop. I have plans for the upperlevel, but that part of the project is a long way off. I used Gargrave track and Ross switches. I installed Gargrave uncoupler tracks on all the yard tracks, and also on a siding coming off the reversing loop on the left side. Included are some photos. I have spent the last several days (including today) on my knees under the tables running and connecting the wires for the electrical system. I am learning to do the electrical as I go.



Finally got the 2nd attempt at the control panel to the point where it could be installed and wiring process began.


Did some of the wiring at the bench where it was easy to get to and work on. 



Built the frame work for the panel and got it painted.



Started wiring up the Tortoise Switch Machine toggles with LED switch point indicators (green/yellow) for normal and diverging routes.



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Originally Posted by Rixster:

Brewman.....where did you get that extra wide tunnel portal?



Hi Rick and Harry, I used the heavy clear plastic container that the K-Line tunnel portals came in as a mold, which I then poured modelling plaster into. I made two and spliced them together.  You can see from the picture that it lacks much of the detail, but it looked ok after painting.  To give it extra strength, I added a wood brace on the back.  If I had it to do over again,  I would not have put the portal on a curve.  I had to trim the sides a few times to allow for overhang from some of my larger engines. 




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I didnt do any actual work on the layout today, but ran trains with my son. 


I also have started talks with Alex Malliae about building a new feature of the layout.  This will require a large rebuild of the corner closet that cover the sump pump.  It will also cut down on my asile space but I think the end results will be well worth it. 

Really worked on the railroad yesterday setting up a newly acquired ZW-L to replace my two ZW's.  Had to run some new wire under the layout as I have the railroad divided into two power districts and the ZW's were in different locations.  Now the ZW-L powers both districts.  I was up until 3:30 this morning running trains.  So I guess I did do something on the layout today! 


Tom, like the new vignette.  Well done!


Worked on my wesite this afternoon and wrote about the new ZW-L.  Bo 


Visit my website Bo's Trains at  

I have decided to upgrade my layout wiring to operate all my switches and uncouplers using the MTH AIU. I have also removed my switches from track power and will be running them from aux transformer power.  I am also adding track detection blocks by isolating one of the outer rails. This will allow for realistic block signalling.


I have rewired 2/5ths of the layout and have used up 800ft of 4-wire phone cable so far.


In the pictures below, I have mounted my AIU's to a movable pannel (1/8" plywood) so I can do all the wiring on my lap while sitting in a chair. This only requires that the wire runs have an extra 3ft length so I can pull the AIU pannel out from under the layout for easy access. I have found this very practical, since there are about 100 wires to teminate for each AIU.



0003 train detection connections

Isolated outside rail by cutting rails and removing track pins on Lionel Fastrack, to create a train detection circuit. this will allow for block signals

0005 AIU out for wiring

AIU with extended wires, so you can do all the wire connections while sitting comfortably in a chair.

0006 AIU board wired

Wire labels and color codes, created using excel spreadsheet, allows for easy tracking of wire connections. Each 4-wire phone cable is labeled, and the colour codes indicate where each strand color for the cable should be connected.

0007 mounted under layout

AIU is hanging on 2 screws, under the layout. this view is in a closet, so there is no scenery and skirt. The AIU's in the rest of the train room are hidden by a skirt that hides the under table mess. In my train room, there are bankers boxes under the layout that store all our "stuff". This demands that the train table be as large as possible in order to store the many bankers boxes.


Images (4)
  • 0003 train detection connections: Train detection by isolating outside rail
  • 0005 AIU out for wiring: AIU mounting board can be pulled out from under layout and placed on your lap, while sitting in a chair
  • 0006 AIU board wired: AIU mounting board with labeled teminal strips
  • 0007 mounted under layout: AIU placed under layout. this view is inside a closet, so there is no scenery.
Originally Posted by Putnam Division:

I fired up my new Railking New Haven Hudson.

I re-wired the inner loop at the far side of the layout (where I was noticing slower speeds).







I wrote down a plan of projects for the coming 6 weeks.....that is sure to be broken at some point!



I like your idea of the old rail line leading to the scrap train, I'm going to steal it!

Originally Posted by Jdevleerjr:
Originally Posted by Super O Bob:

finished the roadbed on a 46ft long straight double track main.  It is perfectly straight, thanks to a laser sight!

Wow Bob, I wish I had the room for a 46long straight!


this layout is long and skinny.  It gets very hard to keep such a long straight perfectly straight.  I set up a datum line with a laser and measure off that.



While I watched the Red Wings game I decaled a Legacy 0-8-0 for a Grand Trunk Western.  I will clear coat it tomorrow, 1st witha  gloss coat to hide all the decal edges and after that dries with a semi gloss or dull coat.  Havent decided on that yet.  Just have the front number board to do and paint the cab window frames red and it will be all done.  Next up a Soo Line Mikado.  


Yesterday I drilled holes in the platform to insert Christmas lights in the buildings on my layout. When my Dad gets a chance, he is going to build me a dimmer box for them (it's handy having an electrician in the family) so I can dim them.


Today, I used my rivet press to make the screw holes bigger for my American Flyer track. Tomorrow, I finish laying it out and securing it down.

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