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Chistech 12-21-2019 05:31 PM

Just became a new member
 
Hello all, I have been a big fan trains all my life and have been planning on doing an outside layout since I built my house 20 years ago. At the time of excavating the foundation and yard, we built a raised area off to one side of the walkout basement. The area is approximately 40’x50’ and will be accessed by the trains by a 20’ curved double trestle from the basement. I already have a layout inside with three spurs. My goal is to run all analog track power with each train making a trip outside, returning inside to its spur, then automatically switching to the next spur and its train. I currently already have all electronics and track in place so I’m ready to start outside. I have collected approximately 1100’ of track and switches with over 600’ being Aristo SS track and 6 switches. I would like to have two to four station stops, one for the mainline trains, then two will be for a logging train that will stop between the mill and logging areas. I will also have a freight train on the main line that will leave the main line before the passenger station via a side mounted magnet and reed switch and then stop at the saw mill, then continue back to the main line.
I am running track power and magnet/reed switches so the layout will run unassisted in most cases. I have modeled extensively in RC scale aircraft so making things up in scale I already do. I have a few ideas as you can see and my theme will incorporate the places I’ve worked i my life including my family’s butchering business, a ice plant in the local harbor, and other places of interest from my neighborhood.
I currently have a crest 10 amp power supply with a TE control. I will be looking for a source of station stop controls and while I’ve read some posts here, none contain a link for where they can be purchased. I will be running as much SS track as possible and do have a rail bender for custom work. There will be a water scene, a mountain with tunnels, along with flat and graded track.
So here are a few questions I have before I start this coming spring. My current area is mostly flat and can easily be made to be that way to start. I am here in southern New England so while our weather get below freezing, being close to the water means we never seem to get a deep freeze. The raised area is well drained and has a base of coarse sand.
#1. Is floating track still the best way to go ballasted on fines?
#2 need a good recommendation for those station stops
#3 what is the normal distance for track feeder wires? Run in conduit with junction boxes?
#4 I have a tig welder and thinking of tagging the rail ends together for better connections, thoughts?
#5 are there any businesses in MA that help with layout plans or how can I plan my layout better?
#6 any help and suggestions other than my questions are also welcomed

Thanks in advance, Ted

R.W. Marty 12-21-2019 08:20 PM

Hi Ted,
Sounds like a great plan, to maybe increase your responses you might want to check in at

https://www.largescalecentral.com/members/home

Quite a few members there that are located in the New England area and they have some great layouts.

LSC is a very friendly and helpful place .
Rick

David Leech 12-22-2019 12:17 AM

Welcome Ted,
I hope that you find some answers here.
I don't know anything about track power, so can't help you there.
My railway is raised with the track fastened down, so that doesn't help you either.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas,
David Leech, Delta, Canada

fredlub 12-22-2019 09:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chistech (Post 1150516)
#1. Is floating track still the best way to go ballasted on fines?
#2 need a good recommendation for those station stops
#3 what is the normal distance for track feeder wires? Run in conduit with junction boxes?
#4 I have a tig welder and thinking of tagging the rail ends together for better connections, thoughts?
#5 are there any businesses in MA that help with layout plans or how can I plan my layout better?
#6 any help and suggestions other than my questions are also welcomed

Thanks in advance, Ted

#1: My track is floated on ballast now for 30 years, but my trackbed is raised on poles.
#4: Tagging the rail end s together will not be a good idea. Here is a text I wrote previously about track wiring:
Before assembling and laying the Gauge 1 track, I soldered a 15-cm wire to the underside of each rail joiner. I ran four bus wires (one pair for each track) through the ballast bed and then laid the rail. I connected each of the wires from the rail joiner using “insulation displacement connectors” (sold in automotive shops) to the corresponding bus wire. The four bus wires were connected to a female connector under the track bed and I made a length of cable with a male connector so I could put the controller on the terrace or in the garage. Of course, this works independent of the type of controller or power supply. So, I ran steam as well as electric, and for a couple of years things worked fine.
After some time, I did experience some connectivity problems. Some sections of rail did not get any electricity via either rail joiner because an isolating layer of dirt had crept into the joiners. In the beginning the problem could be solved by spraying with contact cleaner, but in the end even that no longer worked.
I initially thought why not just solder rail joiners to all rails. I started with one or two and then realized that this would give one 30 meter length of material without any slack. On a warm sunny day this might result in a kinky, out-of-gauge track due to expansion. So I just soldered a small wire jumper, electrically connecting each rail with the next. This did the trick.

Regards
Fred

Pete Thornton 12-22-2019 10:36 AM

Quote:

#1. Is floating track still the best way to go ballasted on fines?
Yes, but a ladder frame underneath can help support it. Be prepared to re-ballast every spring as it washes away.



Quote:

4 I have a tig welder and thinking of tagging the rail ends together for better connections, thoughts?
Quote:

On a warm sunny day this might result in a kinky, out-of-gauge track due to expansion.
I second that opinion. You need track expansion joints anyway. Most people like rail clamps.
Quote:

#5 are there any businesses in MA that help with layout plans or how can I plan my layout better?
At this point in time most are on the internet. Between this crowd, Largescalecentral.com, and your local club, you should be able to get all the answers you need. The club is a good idea, even if only for the initial planning period.

Chistech 12-22-2019 03:06 PM

Thanks everyone for your responses. Don’t know of any local to me clubs but I’m sure a call to Charles Ro here in MA would probably be helpful. I have my vision for my RR, it’s planning the elevations and things like that I’d like some help with. There used to be a father and son team that offered those types of services 20 years ago but not sure if they’re still around.

Pete Thornton 12-23-2019 01:07 PM

Quote:

#5 are there any businesses in MA that help with layout plans or how can I plan my layout better?
Ted, even if there are no convenient clubs, there is a fairly large group of guys scattered around Boston. In particular, the owner/manager of largescalecentral, Bob McCown, is in Littleton, and Stan Ames has a big garden railroad in that area. Go join them on LSC.

http://largescalecentral.com/forums/...14/view/page/6

Chistech 12-23-2019 06:00 PM

Hi Pete,
I tried joining that forum and it said they would send a confirmation email. I have not received it and have sent a few messages to their contact page with no results. Kind of bummed out as many there are right around me. Hopefully I’ll get some reply so I can start posting.

Chistech 12-24-2019 10:38 AM

I tried rejoining today and got a confirmation email this time. Now I have to wait for the manual check before I can post. At least it went through this time.

Dan Pierce 12-25-2019 08:10 AM

I responded to poster here on MLS as I live about 30 miles from him and I am in 2 largescale clubs.
I have an outdoor railroad that floats on ballast and he is more than welcome to come and visit. I run DC and DCC (separate controls via DPDT switches) on all my tracks. Also I have a club member in Somerset, MA near Rt 138 and rt 6 with an outdoor RR.


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