Storage expansion

I am expanding the layout, even though I have not finished making the town, nor have I finished the vegetation along the mainline. I will try to explain myself....

I currently have eight long tracks for train storage in the shadow station. I have a bunch of trains in there, some of them are also pretty long, (472cm) which each use up most of a track. Other tracks have up to three shorter trains parked, waiting their turn to come out and run about.

The problem is that the layout is at its limit, a train can't run out unless it has somewhere to go, and if a friend wants to add a train of theirs, I find the system is choked, I have to find a place to park one of mine, so that there is room for theirs. I also have a bunch of locomotives that are in a display case, some still need decoders that need space on the layout. I also have some commuter trains such as the Primex Berlin S-Bahn train and a nice railbus that I would like to mix in with the more modern S-Bahn trains.

I also need a long track on which to perform maintenance on passenger trains that have been semi-permanently coupled. The maintenance track can also be used for adding and removing trains from the layout without holding up the mainline.

So, I decided I need some additional storage tracks for short trains. A scheme was hatched that would allow trains to depart the existing layout at two levels, each go through a fiddle yard of tracks and then go along the back wall of my basement to a common turning loop, and then return either to the original level, or the other level. The two levels of my existing layout have a height difference of 255mm, so the fiddle yards and the tracks going to the turning loop are going to be on an incline in order to traverse the height difference of the two levels.

Here is one of my concept track designs for the fiddle yards. The idea is to have two of these, one above the other, giving me about 20 new storage tracks!


von Haus zu Haus with Br 50

I was given some "Von Haus zu Haus" coaches which made up a nice train pulled by my Br 50

Thank you Hein!


Traps and pitfalls

As with any hobby, model train layout building has many possible 'mistakes' or things that are done that turn out not to work very well, either visually or functionally.

I thought I would create a list of things one often sees, that I would advise against doing unless you have considered it very carefully. Clearly this is a matter of personal taste, so if you have done, or plan on doing some of these, don't let me stop you, it is your layout, and you do what you like.


Superelevation of track

Train tracks are 'banked' through curves to reduce rail wear and to make travelling through the curve more comfortable for passengers. This is called superelevation.

The raising of the outer rail gives a train a twisting effect as it transitions into and out of curves, and this twisting can also be achieved on a model, by lifting the outer rail too. The trains look more realistic as they go through curves simply because they behave more like the real thing.

The European association of Modelrailroader and Railroad Friends have a standard (NEM 114) for the amount of superelevation that should be added at various scales and they suggest 1.5mm for HO scale. Personally, I find this too small and I prefer 2mm to see a more noticeable effect.

To give my tracks the tilt I wanted, I made a bunch of tiny wooden wedges that I could insert underneath the roadbed of the track.

In order to make such thin wedges, I placed the blade of my table saw slightly off vertical. I then pushed some pine lumber (2x4) through the blade. I then flipped the lumber over and made a second cut, producing a fine wedge. Every flip and cut produced another wedge.


Position of turntable in engine yard

When planning an engine yard with a turntable, it is easy to forget that the whole idea of a turntable in real life is to save space, by turning locomotives in a small area instead of running them through loops and turnouts.

One often sees turntables placed on a layout that tends to waste precious space, specifically one sees the roundhouses placed beyond the turntable like this:


Grape Harvesters

I have now installed a set of grape harvesters (Preiser 10608) in my vineyard.


Kaiserschlucht wine

Now that the terraced vineyard and the main winery vineyards are complete, it was time to create my own wine label for the layout...