I built a swing gate this fall. Why? Because I felt operations on my railway required a fairly extensive staging yard at either end. I’d accounted for this in the original design, though I had convinced myself that I was done with tracklaying!
Right off the swing gate, the main goes through a #8 switch thrown with a tortoise, since I didn’t want to buy any more Tam Valley Octopus servo controllers. I’m thinking of eventually installing toggle switches in staging and Grand Forks so you can choose where you’re going while approaching from either direction, and that will also necessitate LED indicators. A project for another time.
Most of the wiring there is for the swing gate control system.
The staging yard itself consumed about 2 scale miles of track. Inside of the reverse loop (controlled with an AR-1) are 4 tracks, the longest being 2350′ and the shortest 1760′ – Plenty of room, I hope. Inside of the balloon, there is room for a 7 turn helix that would head down to east staging. Will that ever be built? Well…maybe.
Operationally, I’m envisioning most trains entering the staging yard via the loop, then cutting off their power and running around on the main in order to simulate the power not being turned at points west for trains that terminate at Midway or Penticton. The remainder of train 81 (the Boundary subdivision wayfreight or Midway turn) would rarely be over 10 cars, so it could manage both its pickups and drops in the same track.
All the turnouts are handlaid save for one, which is Micro Engineering. I had originally decided to use all ME turnouts to save time, but then realized they were too far from the aisle to throw by hand. There goes the cost advantage! The remaining 7 are my usual fast tracks, sans tie strips. They are spiked down.
You can see that I didn’t bother making the track absolutely perfect. There’s no need to since getting this view as an operator is impossible, and as long as it’s smooth enough to avoid derailments, all is well.
Next project: Adding the scenery base shell everywhere, and a small classification yard in Nelson. I am also working on JMRI operations to control car movement.
All this and the stress of 2 jobs! Free time to me feels like wasted time 😉 Anyone know someone who’s getting married?