Monday, April 26, 2010

CP 282 - Track is In!

Over the course of a week or two of evenings, I have been able to align all the switches for CP 282, the west end of Onondaga Yard and the junction with the Minoa & Euclid Railroad, which will eventually be built to interchange with Conrail's Onondaga Cutoff.

Pictured below is the west end of the interlocking, the point at which the mainline will curve to the right, pass beneath a highway bridge, and begin the 2% drop down to staging.
Interlockings take a long while to install, because it needs to be right the first time, and it involves everything at once: both tracks, sidings, switch machines, and eventually, signals. Everything, including predrilled holes for switch machines, has to be located exactly before any piece of track can be permanently fixed in place. I like this view of the new infrastructure:
A recent article in Model Railroader was written by a modeler who never used commercial flex track or switches, preferring to have the realism offered by hand-laying. Recently he needed to finish a new addition to his layout quickly and had to use commercial products, and wrote an article on how he made them work with his design. One idea of his that I used over the weekend was to modify commercial switches to flow better with my design at the east end of CP 282 - this is a Shinohara (Walthers) #8 frog, left-hand switch. I cut the long ties on the far side of the frog with a razor saw, used a utility knife to remove the tie spacers beneath the rails, and then gently and patiently curved the main route and diverging route to match the adjacent curves. I am very happy with the results - subtle, but crucial to the future alignment.
On the far side of CP 282, along what will be Onondaga Yard, the mainline makes a sweeping curve. I use masking tape, layered and staggered by several inches on each end to 'step up' to the full superelevation gradually at both ends of the curve. Pictured here, Track 1 has the tape installed, while Track 2 to the left is waiting for tape.
So, the interlocking at CP 282 is now in place, though not yet operational. Here is the overview for an eastbound train. The North Runner for Onondaga Yard comes off on the left in this view, and the connector to the M&E is on the right in the middle distance:
And, finally, the view a westbound will have of the whole plant at CP 282, with the South Runner for the yard coming in at the bottom right. This view allows one to readily see the route that M&E trains will take to interchange.
As always, more to come - each rainy weekend allows some time to make some progress!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Springtime has arrived

And with springtime comes some time constraints for layout-time! Spring cleaning, gardens, cutting the lawn, outdoor improvements, and the like start again in earnest. But, today, the last turnouts I need to complete the mainline will arrive, and tracklaying should start again soon (once I finish editing my photos from a great trip my wife and I took recently to Australia & New Zealand). All the mainline roadbed is now in place.

My goal is for the first train to traverse the entire, completed mainline within 2 months time. Then work will begin on laying yards and sidings. Once everything is smooth, I will be making the big switch to DCC.

2010 is becoming an exciting year for the Onondaga Cutoff!