Stage me.

I am sloooow. I get lazy. I finished the staging yard. The mainline is laid, needs just a couple more turnout throws…that will come when I get a new bulb for my work light, and force myself to tidy up. In the meantime, since it’s easier to clean up and more interesting, let’s talk about the staging yard!

It’s actually split up into two parts, electrically and operationally. The staging yard, and the Rossland subdivision + Castlegar yard. The staging yard is the 3 tracks on the top, used for trains coming from Trail on the Rossland sub. The Castlegar yard is used by the prototype mainly by the Kraft switcher ‘s pulp mill traffic, and what’s dropped off by the hotshot to Trail. You can do all your switching from the aisle, if you plan it carefully and don’t push anything out of your reach! You can also switch in the hallway. The track arrangement is prototypical, with a short yard and 2 long sidings. A stub of mainline at the end is available to run around trains, and is big enough to accomodate 4 C-liners or H16-44s, or 3 SD40-2s. There are no industry tracks. It will be scenicked up the brace that the yard passes through, and no farther. My better half is currently working on the backdrop, which will be seen in a later post.

Seen above, the red section is the section attached to the Digitrax AR-1 auto reverser.  I put the west (bottom) rail of the 3 staging tracks through an old Atlas selector so I could switch a track off if there were sound units stored on it.

All turnouts on this side of the doorway are powered by tortoises, which are controlled by an NCE switch-8 – handy, because there are 8 of them! I did this because I wanted operators to be able to control them from either side, and frankly, there isn’t enough room on the far side for a control panel due to the helix constricting the aisle. Now, this made wiring pretty fun….

Main power bus, reversed power bus, 3 switched power buses, plus 2 control wires from the switch-8 to each tortoise, 2 power wires to each tortoise from the buses, and a frog wire from the tortoise to the turnout….whee! Not to mention the control bus going into the UTP panel. Now, annoyingly, I think I need to replace the linkage wire on the tortoises as it’s too flexible! The points don’t move far enough, nor do they push hard enough into the stock rail. Derailments YAY!

When constructing the staging yard, I decided that it should impact under-staircase storage as little as possible, and I kept to this ideal by using only a frame of 1x3s with a spare piece of masonite on the bottom to keep dangling wires in, and mounting the tortoises on the top.

I removed a chunk of the buffer because at a later time there’s a chance I will want to extend the Rossland sub main and staging track 1 to accomodate ore trains from Eholt and Phoenix, which are 30 cars long to necessitate pushers. However, that was vetoed for the time being by the family. Won’t be a big deal, as I won’t have to move any turnouts or anything.

I mounted the tortoises on top here, but I didn’t bother with any fancy mechanical linkages…or ties. I just used my piano wire bent with care, and adjusted it until the turnout threw correctly. I’m not scenicking anything in this area, so I couldn’t be arsed to add ties to the turnouts or pretty up that feeder. There is, of course, a piece of masonite on either side to stop things from falling off. This continues on the front all the way to the doorframe.

Well, that’s all, and here’s a sneaker of what I’m working on…

Be back next week!