Early Construction Pictures

It looks like an F5 tornado hit the layout, but it's only that the buildings were removed to lay the styrene for the roads and to start roughing in the first level of scenery.  The little things sticking up are lights that go inside the houses and industries. The base ground was painted brown as the eye has a hard time making sense out of all the whiteness.

The two new Woodland Scenics' built-ups look good. Made a small stream connection from the main creek to the front edge of the layout.  Building and road locations are still flexible

Trains were running, but my focus shifted to getting some houses and industries built as nothing survived from the previous layout.  As kits were completed and some ready builts were acquired, the location of roads began to take shape.  Thin cardboard was used to lay in possible road locations and grade crossings, that were changed a number of times as buildings were added and moved.  

I am especially glad to have been able to acquire and build the now out-of-production Bachmann Sears catalog home.  It took a lot of work to make it look as good as I think it does.

I actually enjoy ballasting.  I use Smith & Son #50 Penn-Ohio Limestone with good results.  I tend to use a lot of WS Scenics Cement and that caused problems with several of the Atlas turnouts.  Not in the point movement, but in the electrical connection of the movable point rail.  Apparently there is a fairly loose joint at that connection and an over application of glue can insulate the connection.  I'll know next time.  I had to replace two of the turnouts that I could not get working again.  Another mistake I made was to try to set the location of the industrial siding before I knew what buildings I was going to use where.  Don't be afraid to make changes on the fly.  The short tunnel at Hills is starting to take shape.

On previous layout I painted the track with Floquil Roof Brown paint and it looked great and was very durable.  Since the Floquil will "eat" into the blue foam, I painted on both sides of the roadbed with latex paint which acted as a barrier from any paint overspray.  Floquil spay paint was then applied to the rails a section at a time, being careful to wipe the top of the rails immediately to remove the paint.  After drying and some rail top cleaning, trains were running again.

ME deck girder bridges were used to cross Chartiers Creek by Hills.  On the right side, two Atlas plate guider bridges were cut-and-pasted together to form a double track bridge.  Guard rails were added on both bridges which is a nice detail that I had not done before.   Both bridges were keep removable at this point to allow for track painting.

The control panel has the dual-cab block control switches plus the pushbuttons for the Atlas remote turnouts.  A temporary paper top surface is shown which will be replaced with something more permanent.

One of the nice things about using a hollow core door for a layout base was that I was able to flip the layout vertically and do most of the wiring while standing up. I put sliding rails on the sides of the control panel box so it would side under the layout when not in use.  I tried to keep the wiring under the layout fairly neat and used the newer type terminal blocks.

I decided to use Atlas code 80 track as I think it looks fine when painted and ballasted.  It's all flex track with just a few pieces of small sectional tracks where it made sense.  Code 80 track can run anything, even the old steamers, and is very sturdy.  I used Atlas remote turnouts on the rear sidings as they are out of reach by hand.  They have the very ugly Atlas remote switch machines, but they will be kind of hidden by scenery as much as possible.

 I used Atlas Custom Line turnouts on the front side of the layout.  These turnouts need something to hold the points against the stock rail as they are not spring-loaded like the Peco's.  I used low profile miniature slide switch which has worked out great.  I cut the center channel of what will be Chartiers Creek

Tack centerline was marked with a marker, that as you can see, changed a few times. Using a water solvable marker was a big mistake as it bled up through the ballast in a few places.  I decided to use cork roadbed as it has worked well in the past. 

It all started with a 1" thickness of blue extruded foam glued to the top of a 36" x 80" hollow core door.  The best I could tell from old pictures, most bridges crossing the Chartiers Creek were only 10 to 13 feet above the surface of the creek, so only 1" of  foam was chosen.  The layout will rest on sawhorses during construction which makes it easier to work on and to be able to see and reach things. Some track components were dry-fitted to test the initial track plan.  What looks good on paper doesn't always work when the track hits the table, so to speak.  Several changes were made on the fly.

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