Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

To all of you, Happy Thanksgiving to your and your families - may it be peaceful and safe! 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Push to Finish the Yard

With the new DCC system awaiting installation, I am pushing hard to get the yard in service.  Over the weekend, I finished installing the body of the yard including both ladders, all the yard tracks, and the North Runner.  The last few evenings have been spent wiring it, more than 70 feeder wires so far.  That's a lot of rail joints and worse, lots of joints at the back of the layout that require quite a stretch to reach!  But, at long last, all that remains is to wire the feeders to the bus below the layout.

Then it is on to the engine yard, which will be its own challenge, but is considerably smaller than the yard itself. 

Here is the newly-laid East End of Ononodaga Yard, with the yard tracks stretching into the distance.  The main line is to the left, then continuing to the right are the south yard, north yard, and finally the North Runner.  The turnout to the future engine facility is at extreme right.
It won't be this empty for long.  But it will be again a few months from now, when Kristen and I hang the backdrops.  With the yard in service, I will finally be able to put more cars on the railroad too, so I can start to build kits that I've had for years - which will be fun later this winter as a break from layout work!

The view of the yard from the West End is also much more enjoyable now with the yard all in place:
In the middle left of this view, you can see the unique 3-way turnout I am using to allow the North Runner to rejoin the North Yard Ladder.  This saves an important amount of space, as you can see. If I needed another separate turnout for that, I would loose a track in the North Yard. 

It is important to test all this trackwork before going for DCC - derailments now are a hassle but don't fry decoders!  I can fine-tune all the joints, turnouts, and gaps to ensure when I plug in DCC and run the first train into the yard I don't end up with constant problems.  For this purpose, I put together a train of varied cars, and run it through the yard as tracks become 'live' with feeders.  This is a 25-car train, a good length for a future operation that would terminate and originate at Onondaga Yard.  I took the liberty of calling this SEON, Selkirk (Albany), NY to Onondaga Yard.  SD40-2 6495 leads a C30-7A into the North Runner:

Lots of fun.  It will be great to populate the yard once it is all wired, and even more fun to switch the yard with a radio-controlled DCC throttle and train, while mainline trains pass at speed.  Good times coming on the Onondaga Cutoff!