20180104 111956  I have installed LED status lights for the PSX circuit breakers controlling the helix and middle level center. 20180104 112317  I wired up all 24 occupancy detection coils for the helix. 20180104 112323  I wired up all 24 occupancy detection coils for the helix. 20180105 061734  Gluing cork roadbed to transition from mainline to service siding.This siding will probably service a livestock facility.
20180105 061801  Cork is glued and ready to start sanding/fairing. 20180105 061810 001  Need to fair the cork roadbed down to the bare plywood. 20180105 064231  This time I decided to use my Bosch hand planer.  Much faster than hand sanding. 20180105 064301  This time I decided to use my Bosch hand planer.  Much faster than hand sanding.
20180105 074103  Gluing down the code 70 Micro Engineering flex track. 20180102 151931  Jan 5 2018 - I had a bit of an accident.  :(  I had some the buildings/structures I built for the previous layout on a bookshelf in the model workshop.  The coal mine buildings were on the top shelf.  There was a framed picture sitting on the shelf behind them. I bumped the book shelf and the picture fell forward knocking the Walthers coal mine kit 7ft down onto the floor. And then the picture/frame landed on the remains of the kit. 20180106 074518  I moved the Digitrax UR-92 radio receiver up next to the upper level return loop control/status panel (in the center of the room). 20180111 071903  Noticeable kink in the track as it meets the #8 curved turnout.  I need to redo this track....
20180111 072132  The exits from the curved turnout are ok. 20180113 061448  After redoing the track and soldering the flex track to the curved turnout. Much smoother. 20180113 061521  Starting to work on the lower helper district service track sidings. 20180113 061642  I had problems with the track as it passed through the backdrop and changed from code 83 to code 100 and had a double gap for occupancy detection.  I redid the track so it's much more reliable.
20180113 061659  The new track 20180113 061714  Headed the other way into the model workshop 20180113 061734  The view of the lower return loop and 5 staging tracks. 20180113 072933  I laid carpet tile under the helix.
20180113 073009  I laid carpet tile under the helix. 20180113 073104  I laid carpet tile under the helix. IMG 5460  I installed Tortoise motors and NCE Switch-It mk II boards with toggle switches to control the three turnouts for the four staging tracks in the model workshop. IMG 5459
IMG 5458 IMG 5457  The 'inside' of the helix status/control panel/door. IMG 5456  Three RR-Cirkit BOD-8 block occupancy detector boards and three FOB-A LED driver boards for the 24 occupancy zones in the helix. IMG 5455  Three RR-Cirkit BOD-8 block occupancy detector boards and three FOB-A LED driver boards for the 24 occupancy zones in the helix.
IMG 5453  I installed (removable) 1/8" masonite panels over the two  wndow openings and painted the blue backdrop along this wall (finally!) IMG 5452 IMG 5443  I installed plywood subroadbed for the  classification yard two lead tracks. IMG 5444  I installed plywood subroadbed for the  classification yard two lead tracks.
IMG 5445 IMG 5446  All the backdrops have been painted basic sky blue.  It's about 400 linear feet of backdrop. IMG 5450  I installed a status panel for three PSX circuit brakers for booster #1. 20180123 172051  Jan 28 2018 - I decided I wanted a ice house/platform facility on a yard siding to provide ice for the reefer fleet.  I wanted enough ice platform length to service 6 reefers and enough spur track length to handle 12 at a time.  This required adding additional plywood roadbed adjacent to the two yard lead tracks.
20180123 172109  Changing the track design at this late stage can cause some interesting benchwork work. 20180125 124239  I finally got my order of 46 Peco turnouts required for the yard and loco service terminal (Along with 125 sections of flex track). 20180126 061152  Gluing down one of the yard lead tracks. 20180126 062825  Starting to work on the yard throat. It's fairly complicated because of the two arrival/departure tracks and two yard leads having the ability to simultaneously work two different sets of classification tracks without interfering with the other yard lead.
20180126 062857  You can see the printed copy of the yard throat area I needed for reference purposes. 20180127 172728  The Walthers "Car Shop" building will be located here and can be accessed from the yard "thoroughfare" track. 20180127 172742  There are two caboose tracks, the track that allows yard lead track #2 to access the second set of classification tracks, and the main classification yard ladder track that connect the yard lead tracks to the thoroughfare track. 20180128 143023  Yard leads and reefer ice service track are done.
20180128 143040  Gluing down arrival/departure track #1 and dry placed arrival/departure track #2. 20180128 143107  Gluing down arrival/departure track #1 and dry placed arrival/departure track #2. 20180128 143226  Gluing down arrival/departure track #1 and dry placed arrival/departure track #2. 20180206 115850  Feb 6 2018 - My technique for connecting track feeders.  I bend the tip (~1/16") of the 22 ga solid wire and flatten it.
20180206 120735  After soldering.  After the track is painted and ballasted the track feeder will be virtually invisible. 20180206 120614  I place the flattened tip on the base of the rail. 20180207 074101  I have added a DCC Specialties "PowerPax" for the DCC programming track and a RRampMeter to show real-time DCC voltage and current to booster station #1. 20180207 074259  Booster station #2 also has a RRampMeter and a 5V power supply for the two RR-Cirkits BOD-8 occupancy detection boards used in the lower return loop and staging tracks.
20180207 074314  Booster station #3 has a 5V power supply for the five RR-Cirkits BOD-8 occupancy detection boards used by the helix and upper return loop/staging tracks.  It needs a RRampMeter. 20180207 074331  Booster station #4 provides power for the main classification yard and locomotive service terminal. It needs a RRampMeter. LocoRosterDecoderPro  Over the last month I have have systematically gone through all of my "era appropriate" locomotives to verify functionality, install DCC decoders as needed, configure long DCC addresses, lubricated as needed, test run, and added to JMRI DecoderPro 'Roster'. I have about 42 'era' plausible locomotives (as well as about 25 non era appropriate diesel locomotives (post 1959).  In my world the Utah Railway will be running a couple 2-6-6-4 NW Class As and 4-6-4 Hudsons in addition to their 2-8-8-2 steamers. 20180208 100336  Feb 10 2018 - I have started researching methods for weathering the track. The layout has about 1200 ft of visible track and 86 visible turnouts. Most of the videos show people using masking tape to cover the points and pivot points on turnouts to prevent them from getting sprayed in order to avoid  electrical conductivity issues.  After the spray paint dries they come back and manually touchup the masked areas with a paint brush.  With 86 turnouts that would be tedious and I concluded that if I had a very precise mask object I could avoid the manual brush phase.  So I created a couple mask objects using TinkerCad.com and my 3D printer.
20180208 100710  The first attempt as slightly wide. 20180208 102130  The second attempt fits perfectly. 20180208 102756  Some people mask the pivot points but many people so it's not necessary. 20180208 132847  I created a mask for the pivot points as well.
20180208 134451  I modified the points mask to taper the areas that sit between the stock bars and the inside of the rails. 20180209 042724  I noticed all three of my Athearn RTR Gas Turbine Veranda locomotives bounced severaly when crossing the #8 double slip switch and they caused frequent shorts on the frogs of the Peco insulfrog turnouts. I measured the width of the wheelsets and found all 14 axles on the locomotives/tenders were out of spec/narrow on all three locomotives/tenders. Internet research showed I wasn't the only person who noticed that problem. So I purchased an NSWL 'the puller' and adjusted the wheelsets/axles so they are within NMRA specification and now the locomotives/tenders run MUCH better. 20180209 043114  There are four geared/driven axles and four non geared non driven axles on each gas turbine locomotive. 20180209 044450
20180209 111547  Working on gluing down the 8 classification tracks in the main yard. The eight tracks vary from 174" to 218" inches long and they can hold up to 250 40ft cars or 205 50ft cars. 20180209 111559 20180209 182833 20180209 185237  Working on gluing the last track in the yard.
20180210 044013  I need to replace all the missing ties where rails were joined. 20180210 063514  The 'car shop' facility in the foreground. 20180210 063601  All the 'missing' ties have been placed. 20180210 063639  All the 'missing' ties have been placed.
20180210 063657 20180210 063731  Starting to do some testing on weathering/painting track. 20180210 063908  They seem to work great.  The points mask works for both the Peco #6 and #8 turnouts, but the pivot mask geometry is different between the #6 and #8 turnouts. 20180210 063931  After removing the masks.
20180210 045327  It's time to start making decisions on ballast color.  Here's some of the samples I got from Arizona Rock & Mineral company. 20180219 095628  And then come back with Rustoleum Camo Ultra Flat 'Earth Brown' from directly above to color the ties. 20180219 094751  I'm trying to spray with the original reddish brown from a low angle on the side (rust on sides of track).... 20180214 163710  The first 'brown' paint I tried turned out to have too much red/orange for good 'tie' color so now I'm trying Rustoleum Camo 'Earth Brown' (which provides a much better tie color).
20180214 163503  Still figuring out a 'formula' for weathering the track. 20180214 043024  The new track installed. 20180213 163441  Gluing down the new track. 20180213 071958  Feb 19 2018 - I am redoing/replacing the double track mainline that circles behind the (future) turntable/roundhouse area.  There were issues with the Homasote subroadbed and double gapped track so I decided for a complete redo.  The new trackwork is much better/smoother/reliable.
20180220 122652  Feb 24 2018 - I have decided to go with a simple single paint color for the track weathering base.  I found trying to get a consistently inconsistent rust color on the rail sides and then dark brown for the ties was not providing satisfactory results. I will do a base coat of Rustoleum Camouflage Dark Earth and then touch up later on to add rail rust and tie color variation using a brush or pen. IMG 5583  The yard area with the experimental rusty rail/dark brown tie experiment. IMG 5586  It took almost a week to finish the base track weathering on the lower level. My calculations indicate that's about 750 feet of the total visible track length of around 1200 ft.  I would paint/clean for about 30 minutes and then air out the fumes for about 2-3 hours and repeat this cycle 2 or 3 times per day. IMG 5587  From left to right - The classification track lead tracks, the double track mainline, and the branchline to heads up to downtown Ogden.
IMG 5591 IMG 5592  Around the center platform IMG 5594 IMG 5595  I noticed that the Rustoleum spray paint slightly melted the Owens Corning Foamular foam base even though the foam was thoroughly painted with Behr interior latex. It is very minor and it should not be a problem because it will be covered with ballast and misc ground cover materials.
20180221 181906  Close-up of the painted track 20180304 104622  Getting ready to install the Walthers 130 ft turntable. 20180305 155551  Testing turntable fit. 20180307 054919  After spray painting the turntable pit to get rid of the shiny green plastic look.
20180319 155434  After moving the roundhouse onto the layout. 20180319 155502  Now I need to install/wire the tracks for each of the 12 stalls (plus the 4 'garden' tracks on the left of the roundhouse and the track that will service the machine shop. 20180319 155538  I will wire track feeders thru holes in the far end of the track grooves.  Each pair of track feeders will go through a STDP switch to allow manual control of track power for each stall. 20180319 155845
20180319 155904 20180319 160056  The cardboard pieces are being used to locate where other buildings will be placed. 20180319 160405  From the backside with the backdrop panel removed. 20180321 133034
20180323 125739 20180323 125751 20180403 113444  April 4 2018 - Finishing up the Walthers "Railroad Shop" kit.