New layout planning

I’ve been planning a new layout since late in the summer of 2019. I came across the image above a few years ago and it has inspired research into the Baltimore & Ohio’s Allegheny Yard branch in Pittsburgh. In the lead image we see the Allegheny River and the School Street yard sitting on the north shore, circa 1923. Today, the Pittsburgh Pirates play baseball along this shore at PNC Park. The stadium dominates the scene and would be hiding the building with the Teaberry Gum sign.

All images in this blog post are from the Pittsburgh City Photographer collection on the Historic Pittsburgh site, unless noted otherwise.

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Simple Tools – 2

201509_emery_cigfact

Simple tools were popular here a couple of months ago. Fellow pre-Depression Era modeler Dave Emery shared several ideas so he steps in as a guest blogger with more details. Take it away, Dave!

The HO scale cigar factory seen above is more than just wood shapes, plastic castings, paint, decals, and other parts. It is the sum of work done with an assortment of common and uncommon tools. Let’s take a look at some of the uncommon tools from my workbench that helps me move projects forward.

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Track Installation Basics, part 5

Mind the gap!
Mind the gap!

Building a model railroad involves assembling track components into a design that meets a desire to operate or follow a prototype location. In many cases, three-foot sections of flexible track are joined together, or joined to track switches, as the mainline is installed. Often a tie or two is clipped from the track ends in order to connect the pieces with rail joiners. Installation proceeds and eventually the completed track is tested with a few freight cars and a locomotive before it is deemed complete.

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Track installation basics, part 4

Soldered electrical leads
Soldered electrical leads

Model railroading is the sum total of a variety of elements as an individual builds their dream layout. History, carpentry, engineering, painting, geology, architecture, electronics and electrical, and other components all combine for the final presentation. Each of these components may have additional aspects. As an example, electrical can consist of work with switches, relays, wire, and soldering.

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One step inspires more progress

A view of the wiring tasks.
A view of the wiring tasks.

I worked on the layout over this past weekend and completed the electrical wiring on the yard throat module. While surveying the work, I realized I had not made much progress in the last 4.5 months. Of course, I do consider wiring to be sheer drudgery, yet it is a necessary evil to complete in order to make the trains go. I guess I’ve just been avoiding this work as the fun factor is quite low. It’s a basic human trait to avoid the stuff we don’t like to do.

A terminal strip is used for multiple connections.
A terminal strip is used for multiple connections.

Over just a few days, I’ve completed the following tasks on the yard throat module.

  • installed feeder wires on four tracks
  • spray painted the rail and ties
  • installed leads on seven SPDT momentary contact switches to control the frog polarity
  • attached all feeder wires to the appropriate buss wires

One view of the module surface.
One view of the module surface.

Successful completion of this work inspires and motivates me to keep moving forward. This is how my hobby ebbs and flows. I’ve rarely achieved a straight line progression in task completion. There are often bursts of activity followed by a quiet stretch. At this point, only one module remains to be electrically completed. I hope to wrap that one up in the next week as the B&O Wheeling Freight Terminal project moves closer to operation.

Everything looks a little better with a few freight cars.
Everything looks a little better with a few freight cars.

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