Layout Adjustments

The Wheeling Freight Terminal layout sections have assembled easily in the new space but there are a few adjustments to make in order to operate again. One adjustment was noted in the last blog post where four inches of a section needed to be removed in order for all to fit into the space. A survey of the layout has revealed the need for additional adjustments. Thankfully, no other sections need to be shortened.

Nearly all of the track on the sections is cut flush with the end of the section. This can open the door to trouble and one rail was zippered away from the ties as it was uncrated after the move. The toothpick in the image above points to the problem spot on one of the freight house tracks. This is on a tangent section of track. The spikes will be cut away and a dab of Barge contact cement under the rail might fix it.

Most of the track switch controls underneath the layout surface made the trip without incident but there are two that demand attention. The wire in the above image is not connected to a throw bar as a mounting plate has fallen from the Velcro attachment. A little care as it is reinstalled will return the track switch to normal

Track was cut back in order to shorten one section, as seen above. I can reuse the tracks that were removed in order to bridge the gaps between sections. A Dremel motor tool with a cut off wheel, a razor blade, and a couple of files will make quick work of this task, if I can find my rail joiners.

The yard sections are in operation and that includes the programming track. I downloaded the JMRI software a few years ago in order to program the DCC decoders in my locomotives with Decoder Pro. I thought this would be a good time to finally figure out how to use the program. After a couple of hours trying to make the proper connections, I found the default COM port in the System Preferences was not the port that my USB was using. Once the option was corrected, I was able to program some decoders! The Middle Tennessee Model Railroaders have a very large layout and members encouraged me to bring a few things to run. A couple pair of diesels seemed to be the best models to get running quickly. Decoder Pro made swift work of the job and a B&O F3 consist made an impressive debut on the layout hauling an eastbound section of SFRD reefers.

The club is located in nearby Nolensville, TN. Their layout represents the Union Pacific line between Los Angeles and Ogden, Utah, known as the Salt Lake Route. A mainline run can take 30-40 minutes to complete. There are a few YouTube videos that offer a look at the layout. Here’s a good introduction. Maybe next time I’ll prep a pair of Spectrum 2-8-0s.

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5 thoughts on “Layout Adjustments”

  1. Eric,

    I apologize for not introducing myself at the Nolensville op session July 8, but certainly glad you were able to make the session. Was busy with the Ogden & LA staging yards…….

    Cumberland Division’s HO modular RR group, Cumberland Valley Model RRers, has had the same rail-ripping problem several times over the yrs. My solution is to trim away the remains of plastic spike heads so the rail reseats itself level, then drill appropriate diameter holes thru crossties such that there’s a good grip on the spikes, then spike the loose rail in place; 4 spikes/tie, do at least 3 ties’ worth. Over the yrs, this seems to work well for us.

    Looking forward to more of your blog posts.

    Bob Hultman Cumberland Div SER NMRA Supt

  2. Eric, glad to see you are getting things back together and have had what looks to be minor problems. That’s a nice looking B&O consist.

    1. Thanks Jack. I’ll be happier once some of the track alignment issues are fixed at a couple of layout section joints. – Eric

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