Track laying in lower section of expansion complete

I have now completed the track laying in the lower section of the layout expansion.

The lower hidden area has 9 storage tracks.

  • 7 of the tracks can handle trains 184cm long
  • 1 can handle a train of 201cm
  • 1 can handle two trains of  330cm, and 322cm, or one that is 6.52m long.

(The purpose of expansion area was to store shortish trains, as I have 8 long storage tracks in my existing hidden station.)

Once the trains have passed through the fiddle yard (or bypassed it) they climb at 2% up towards the turning loop area:

Two tracks come out of the lower level, and on the way to the turning loop they run parallel to the two tracks that will go to the upper section. This area will have scenery, and I have mounted the plywood for the backdrop.

All four tracks then come together to pass behind our water heater where they travel along a curved section with safety barriers.

The turning loop, can hold two trains (261cm and 251cm) or a single 5.12m train The practical limit for trains running through the extension is therefore 5.12m.

The turning loop area is horizontal so I added a bit of a valley and bridge to add some interest:

The rear track against the wall will be covered by a mountain so that one does not see a train track doing a 180° turn. The rear track will be accessible from below via the holes in the plywood.

A backdrop is also planned to go behind the mountain and wrap around to hide part of the water heater.

Technical stuff

  • For the fiddle yard I decided to use a 13.5 cm stopping area before the turnouts in each track.
  • I also decided to use 3 sensors per track (instead of 4), one at each end and one exactly in the middle. This allows the middle sensor to be used as the slow down section in both directions. This approach will save the expense of 18 sensors for the project.
  • The new area provides a lot more flexibility in routing trains, so I decided to implement the ability to dispatch trains to a destination, rather than only along specific routes. I can now define an event on the screen that will dispatch any train in a track to a specific destination with a single click. Clicking on any track with a train also lets one pick any destination, or activate specific routes.
  • The long tracks that go towards the turning loop do not allow stopping in the direction of the loop. This ensures that a train already booked into, or already in, the loop cannot get trapped there by trains on the incoming tracks. Stopping is permitted on the way out towards the fiddle yard or on the long tracks.
  • 24 turnouts have been laid, turnout switches installed, and connected to k83 type modules.
  • 44 sensors have been made by isolating sections of track, and connected to s88 type modules, usually via a 36' long Cat-5 cable holding 8 wires, about 200' of cable. (I used cable my dear wife picked up at the dump!)
  • About 436 electrical connections made!
  • The layout now has about 271m of track!

Here is the schematic on my control screen of the lower section and the turning loop. The upper fiddle yard (still to be built) is on the left.

Earlier report: https://cabin-layout.mixmox.com/2020/03/storage-expansion1.html
Backdrops done: https://cabin-layout.mixmox.com/2020/06/storage-expansion3.html