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31  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: February 10, 2018, 11:32:30 AM
LOTS of updates to mention!
Well, my mother and I both agreed that we should probably keep the layout as a 12x8 L-shape instead of a C-shape, due to the way the basement is designed, and I found I can still fit what I want on the layout anyways, thanks to moving some stuff around (that's another benefit of not jumping into doing landscaping and with using E-Z Track, according to "The HO Model Railroading Handbook - 3rd Edition."

An overview of the layout; it's easier to do such photos at different angles with this new location.

My Amtrak "Genesis" diesel pulling the Amfleet cars.

Working on setting up the TYCO unloading hopper car.

Running the track-cleaning boxcar just to give the rails a quick once-over.

I've finally got both ends of the track on both platforms connected!

My freight train running on the second platform.

This is why you have to be careful with double-track railroad crossings.

Here's a video I shot, too!

Since all this, I removed the small passing siding on the second platform as I found it unnecessary with the revisions.
32  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: February 06, 2018, 08:25:45 PM
An update on how I'll be controlling the layout...

I got a typical modern Bachmann power pack and hooked it up to my E-Z Command unit, as this way you can operate ten digital addresses and one analog locomotive (I will still make an isolated siding to park any analog locomotives on when not in use, like on the previous layout.) I am still hoping to at least either get a decoder-equipped steam locomotive, or find out how to upgrade my IHC/Mehano Consolidation steam loco (which uses the same tooling as TYCO's old Consolidation!) I'll also use the Bachmann pack here to power the turnouts and any close-by electrically-operated "action accessories", but for any other lights or accessories requiring an AC connection I will be mounting older train set power packs under the benchwork for that (I've got quite a bit of those blue Life-Like power packs, and a few older Bachmann and TYCO packs as well.)

My Life-Like operating logging mill! This is a pretty cool manually-operated action accessory Life-Like made for a long time. A shame they didn't make a Power-Loc -compatible version or similar. In the 70s, Life-Like did come out with some rather unique action accessories that were different from what Bachmann, Cox and TYCO were making at the time.

The Amtrak train stopped at the Life-Like Snap-Loc commuter station.
33  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: February 06, 2018, 12:14:34 AM
I've been working on placing where roads and buildings will be going on the next stage of the layout...

Here is where the water bodies will later be carved into the foam surface.

Working on the residential section of the town as well.

One of the railroad crossings on the layout, with nonoperating Bachmann signals placed there for now. Once I'm ready to do landscaping, I will glue that edge of the foam sheet to the other one so they will be at an even height.

An overview of three of the crossings. One of them is going to be the TYCO Lighted Signal Crossing from the early 80s. (It's a lot better than Bachmann's similar product from 1979-1996, the "Dual Crossing Gates with Flashing Lights and Bell.")

Two more schools have been placed on the layout: the Atlas Jefferson High building (I might add on to it to make it a bit bigger, maybe attach the Plasticville school house to it or something) and the Life-Like Union Avenue School. Also, at where Aunt Millie's House is, the farm will be going there.

Life-Like Operating Coal Tipple. This is the version made from 1996 until recently that will accommodate roadbed track.

Overview of the progress so far. I ordered a few more E-Z track sections, which should hopefully come in this week. Other plans include the drive-in theater (of course), a coal yard and a logging mill, and a ledge on one or two of the corners (done using scrap pieces of insulation foam.)
34  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: February 04, 2018, 10:29:34 PM
BIG update: I've got the second part of the platform built now!

We had to lop ten inches off of the 4x8 so we could get to the oil tank more easily near the layout, but I was able to adjust my track plan to accomodate that..
So after assembly, I cut the extruded insulation foam there to fit:

I can also use some of the excess foam layers for hills and such!

I had also gotten this for the new layout:

Bachmann's Plasticville HO station platform. It has a lot more detail and painted parts than some other Plasticville kits, and it even came with the labels already applied! The two included figures were fully painted as well. It reminds me a lot of the train station platforms in my hometown of Brockton for the MBTA commuter railroad line running through here.
35  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: February 02, 2018, 03:43:36 PM
The piggyback loader/unloader only works with trailers/containers that have ridges on the top edges. The early TYCO truck trailers made prior to 1978 did not have the ridges, and such using them with this device is nearly impossible. The TYCO truck trailers were fairly short, but I imagine it could be used with one of those longer single-trailer flatcars provided the trailer has the ridges on the top. Here's a YouTube video showing how it works.
You know, given the Bachmann/TYCO rivalry of the 70s to the mid 80s, I'm surprised Bachmann didn't come out with their own equivalent! (After all, Bachmann's crossing gate does show quite a bit of similarity to TYCO's own crossing gate, which came first.)
36  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: February 01, 2018, 05:17:16 PM
OK, not only am I doing some track test-fitting on the initial 4x8 section of my train table, I'm also organizing where structures and operating accessories will be located, for the most part.

The complete TYCO Center Street 1982 building set! A friend of mine custom-painted the school for the former downtown museum HO train layout. I only have one building from the 1981 set: the Loew's movie theater, but that is all I need.

Another shot of some of the structures. I unpacked a few more after this photo was taken.

The fast food district. Again, I placed the Life-Like KFC and TYCO Burger King structures near a railroad crossing to mirror the real fast-food district in the neighboring town of Bridgewater MA (their Burger King was originally a train station, which would explain its' location right next to the tracks.)

Getting in some freight and passenger train action. I find that my five-car Amtrak train would be better for running through the entire length of the layout once the additional platforms are built and attached (otherwise I'll just have the locomotive pull three cars.)

Near here there will be a train station with a Bachmann Plasticville platform in-between the two tracks.

For my trial run I am using none other than my first DCC locomotive: the Bachmann BNSF GP40 that came with my E-Z Command control unit and wiring, which I bought almost three years ago when I was building the previous layout!

Where a left-hand turnout will be going that will direct the trains to the second platform I am currently substituting with my Bachmann E-Z Track blinking bridge. On the final setup, it will be going on the second platform over a ravine carved into the insulation foam.

Look, I can now set up the plastic electric windmills I've had for a couple years now! It seems these windmills and the railroad both seem to go together.
37  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: January 31, 2018, 06:46:13 PM
Big update today!

We got the first table standing up! Boy is it taller than the old one, but I like how I can now see the trains at eye-level when I will be sitting at the console, and I can store some containers underneath the layout during the construction period! As you can kind of see, space is a little awkward at the moment, but keep in mind, we just moved into the house over a month ago, and still have a bit of unpacking and organizing to do in the basement. I even took the opportunity to do some more track test-fitting and such.

Here is where two of my TYCO Prestomatic accessories are going. After the photo was taken, I extended the siding with the operating boxcar bin a bit. That blank E-Z Track siding is where the Life-Like Operating Coal Tipple will go (it will be the post-1996 version designed to also work with Power-Loc or other similar roadbed track.) For the TYCO accessories I will place cork roadbed underneath them.

TYCO operating crossing gate and piggyback loader/unloader terminal. Again, I'll place cork roadbed underneath the terminal, and make a slightly longer incline for the ramp to go to the small road I'll be making once I do scenery (that won't be until the second and third extensions are built.)

And for the heck of it, here are the Bachmann and TYCO crossing gates together. It really lets you see how similar both are. (Again, the TYCO gate is the early version with a more detailed base, a separate track section (I used a nickel-silver Atlas Code-100 track section on it for better electrical consistency) and better operation than the TYCO crossing gates from the mid-70s onward.) On the other side of the track across the TYCO crossing gate, I will place another crossing signal there (maybe an operating one.)

Nope, this isn't Bachmann. It's actually a Model Power Lock-It nickel-silver lighted bumper track section. I mentioned how Lock-It was Model Power's answer to Bachmann E-Z Track and could even connect to it (Bachmann wasn't pleased by that and filed a lawsuit!)

From the other side.

Unpacking my boxed locomotives and rolling stock, along with my E-Z Command setup...

Already able to run a train on this! I am substituting a couple of sections right now that will be replaced when the table is added onto. I am using the Bachmann DCC GP40 locomotive that came with the E-Z Command unit when I bought it nearly four years ago. Among running at first it seemed to struggle, but after a few laps it ran more smoothly (I guess it needed to be broken in after being in storage for some time; I may also give the track a quick wipe-over with my track-cleaning boxcar to be safe.
38  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: January 30, 2018, 11:25:51 AM
Well, whatever I use, it's for the most part pretty sturdy. I attached the thin plywood to the top because the existing particle plywood was at a lower height than the other sections I was using. Keep in mind I'll also be putting 2 inches of extruded insulation foam on each platform.

I've also now built the second platform...

And have started attaching legs to them!

I'm really getting close now. And for track, all I need now are three more left-hand turnouts and four more 18"-radius curves, and I'll have all the tracks I need!
39  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: January 24, 2018, 11:14:42 PM
I got a frame built under the first 4x8 sheet of plywood!

Starting work on it before cutting additional 2x4s...

The finished frame. It will be a lot better than just resting the 4x8 on that old dining table for sure.
40  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: January 22, 2018, 07:05:05 PM
Trying some test-fitting and laying of the E-Z Track I have so far for one of the 4x8 sections. Once I've assembled the benchwork and attached the insulation foam to the tabletops, I will assemble the track first and run the trains on it for a while, deciding where I'll put different things, before I'm ready to do landscaping. I got this plan from Robert Schleicher's "The HO Model Railroading Handbook: 3rd Edition" and the "Bachmann Model Railroad Club Magazine" issues.

Still need to get some more track; I need some more left-hand turnouts and a Connector Assortment and a couple of 18"-radius curved rerailers (for the road I am planning that will cross at a couple of curves.)
I was also able to remove the connection clips from one end of two of the E-Z track sections so I could connect my TYCO crossing gate!

It does look cool seeing the Bachmann and TYCO crossing gates together like that, especially when you know that Bachmann's dual crossing gates draws some inspiration from the TYCO version.

I've already come up with a plan on where my roads for the vehicles running through the layout will be, along with a couple of industrial areas and the drive-in movie theater.
41  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: January 20, 2018, 11:32:43 PM
Well, today we got most (if not all) of the materials I need for building the benchwork for the new layout! My carpenter cousin who stopped by to install a railing on our basement stairs also helped transport the material for me.

As I said, I'm going to use extruded insulation foam on the plywood. But Lowe's 2-inch-thickness sections are just two 1-inch sections stuck together, and it looks kind of uneven, but it appears that is so it's easier to put two 2x8 sections together. Also, because the old 4x8 I originally started out with didn't match the thickness of the 4x4 and the new 4x8 (which are 3/4-inches thick, the old one is a half-inch thick) we got a 1/4-inch 4x8 to put over the original 4x8 to even out the height.
In building the train table, I will be combining methods from the World's Greatest Hobby video (as uploaded on YouTube), the Bachmann Model Railroad Club Magazine, and a few other sources (such as Robert Schleicher's "The HO Model Railroading Handbook: Third Edition" and the TYCO Layout Expander System manual). The supports for the 4x4 from the old layout will be reused, but the height will be increased on the legs.

I've also now got around 3/4 of the track I need to build the layout. When the benchwork is finished, I will probably assemble track first before doing any landscaping to see how it looks, then decide where my roads will go. (For that, I will be using 1/8-inch thick Foamcore strips, same with several building sites.) I'm even going to carve and cut a ravine into the foam in which my Bachmann E-Z Track blinking bridge will go over!

Testing it out for this photo. I discovered that compared to the old version Bachmann made from the 70s to the 90s, this one uses an LED light and nickel-silver rails, and doesn't draw as much power from the track thanks to the LED, so it doesn't interfere with the operation of the train as it rolls over the bridge!
42  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: December 08, 2017, 07:53:34 PM
I've got a decent pile of boxes and containers in the corner of the basement section of my new house where my model train layout will be going. It does make for a neat sight: the beginnings of a brand-new model railroading experience!

As for benchwork, the existing 4x8 and 4x4 plywood sections will be handled by the movers we are hiring. I am not going to be reusing the ancient ratty dining table I have set the 4x8 on all these years; I am going to build a new, simple but sturdy frame and legs for the plywood sections (including the new 4x8 I plan to get to complete the "U" shape), somewhat following the steps described in stuff like the Bachmann Model Railroad Club magazine or the old TYCO Layout Expander System manual, but adapting it for a 12x8 "U" shape and for DCC and E-Z Track.
The layout will be semi-permanent, as the scenery will still consist of green and brown ground foam landscaping material on the painted platform, like my previous layout (I still find it looking more realistic than a grass mat or green felt), and I may attach the E-Z Track with some sections of double-sided tape instead of nailing or gluing it firmly to the plywood, should I need to make any adjustments. It'll be the best of both worlds!
43  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: December 07, 2017, 10:59:12 PM
Been moving more train stuff to the new house, and I also bought some more E-Z Track as well, including Bachmann's E-Z Track Expander set (nickel-silver version.)

I bought a new-old-stock set from the late 90s or early 2000s (judging by the E-Z Track logo on the top), but it's virtually identical to the version available on the market today, complete with those older-style bumpers (I don't care if they're not that realistic-looking, as long as they do their job.)

The actual move to the new house is going to be later next week, but I probably won't begin construction on the layout until after Christmas. For this layout, I'm going to follow a lot of the steps Robert Schleicher published in "The HO Model Railroading Handbook" (1998 edition) and those Bachmann Model Railroad Club online magazines.
44  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: December 04, 2017, 01:29:03 PM
Looking at your layout plan, I hope you're leaving space around the back side to get at any derailments or problem areas.


I plan to put the layout in the center of the area so we can walk around all sides of it.
45  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: December 03, 2017, 07:02:12 PM
Bought some more track for the impending layout and dropped it off at the new house, and took a picture of the track I will be using for the layout so far. I'm going to need a lot more though...

To be fair, I have compiled a list that tallies how many track sections I need and what I already have, along with structures and action accessories. (I already have a bunch, only new ones I plan to get are the E-Z Track Blinking Bridge and the Walthers Cornerstone Skyview Drive-In Theater.)
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