Crawford and Cherokee Layout Update

Discussion in 'Divisions' started by rjthomas909, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Really enjoyed seeing and reading about the design processes behind the move to the waffle modules. Makes me realize I'm ready for breakfast.

    Ample interchange opportunity on the layout plan. Not only good for interchange traffic but the diamond can be a nice way to pace operations - slowing things down while a switch job waits for the diamond to clear.
    Ozarktraveler and Joe Lovett like this.
  2. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I really like what you have going with this layout. I have a big interest in the SE Kansas Coal fields so I like seeing them come back to life through your project.
    Ozarktraveler and Joe Lovett like this.
  3. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Thanks guys. I am hoping to get some work in this weekend, focusing on getting a few of the modules up and working. Also adding casters to the legs, as moving the modules when assembled seems to generate a lot of stress on the end plates. This was the main driver for going to the waffle vs frame design.

    The waffle design is still experimental to me, so I foresee rebuilding some portions, in particular places where I might want to expand further. For example, if this layout was taken for a show, might want to have an option for continuous running.

    More to come....

    -Bob T.
    Joe Lovett and Ozarktraveler like this.
  4. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Happy Sunday All,

    Well the July heat is keeping me to layout work in the morning (mostly). The good news is that there is no work travel this weekend and some progress occurred.

    Finished up the remaining leg installation for the Weir module tail track, and a few remaining alignment pins. Found these nifty swivel casters on Amazon:

    Ran out being four short (did not get the Cherokee module in the assembly) , but more wheels on the way.... was able to test fit the modules from the central MoPac Interchange around through the Weir end.

    With these swivel casters, it is MUCH easier to put modules in place and even move large sections around. Some have a brake on them, giving one per module in the event you don't want the thing moving while trains are on the layout. The idea is that the layout will wrap the walls of our two car garage. Now I can break apart in the middle and quickly move enough out of the way to park one car in the garage while leaving the layout largely together.

    The three short modules have strips of plywood roughly where the main will go through, in an attempt to judge room for scenery and the interchange. Next weekend, will try to get some roadbed down and see how well I can get track aligned across the boundaries (frontiers?).


    -Bob T.
    gna, Ozarktraveler and Joe Lovett like this.
  5. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Bob, will look forward to further reports on this development. My track plan (exists only in my head at the moment, mind you) entails using a swing bridge for the Clinton Depot lead. I've thought of using leg supports with wheels of some sort for added support. Your approach seems like it just might be the ticket.

    Best Regards,
    Ozarktraveler and Joe Lovett like this.
  6. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Good Afternoon,

    Another shipment of casters/wheels in and all modules are now mobile. Set up the Cherokee modules and started putting some roadbed down. Managed a few hours and have roadbed down for the Cherokee approach and MoPac interchange modules. Pictures below:

    MoPac Interchange and Cherokee approach with "N-E connector" lead.

    Cherokee and Cherokee Diamond Modules (Now w/Wheels)

    Two more modules remain for basic roadbed lay-down. I received some gap master ties and will make short plywood roadbed to put at the boundary (frontiers).

    (edit) forgot this photo:

    The cork roadbed does not seem to be firm enough to keep a tolerance on the tracks with this approach of a butt joint with no removable connector track.

    It looks like the Cherokee side of the layout will be a nice switching layout itself. I may work that end first for track and scenery......

    Oh well, I hope you enjoy the update!

    -Bob T.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
  7. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    Bob, I like the progress you have made on your layout and the wheels. Don't be surprised if you go to your train room and find out your wheels are gone and the layout setting on concrete blocks. lol. Those are good looking wheels, look strong too.

    We are looking forward to seeing and hearing your updates.

  8. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Joe, you know it. That is why I have to put my truck in the garage....walked out one morning and it was up on blocks with the wheels gone!
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  9. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    I had a 1969 Ford van that was broken into three times. The first time they took a pair of shock absorbers, 12 volt fan, CB radio and a nice winter coat. In the process they destroyed the wing glass on the driver's side and glove box door. I was in the process of moving and accidentally left my check book in the glove box with $200 tucked into the check book. Thankfully they didn't take anything out of the glove box, just rummaged around the things inside and missed the valuable stuff. The second time they didn't take anything but destroyed the passenger side wing glass. Third time they took my CB radio antennas that were mounted on the rain gutters and bent the gutters all the way down. They got inside of the van through the driver's side wing glass again but there wasn't anything inside to steal this time. Those were the only bad things that happened to my van, otherwise the van was one of the best vehicles I have ever owned, wish I still had it.

    Sorry for thread diversion.

  10. Friscotony

    Friscotony Member

    One of the ways we use to join modules in the Free-mo world is to use what we call fitter rails. These are 1-3 " lengths of track that are used with ties to make the joint and give a little flexibility to the joint. Remove them and you have free modules to move as you please.

    Tony LaLumia
    Ozarktraveler and Joe Lovett like this.
  11. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Well, finished up four cross-overs, using up the FastTracks fixtures and tools:

    3 Left Hand FastTracks #6 Cross-Overs

    I have been making these when I have had time after work, but have not had much time on the weekends due to work travel.

    It was finally somewhat nice this weekend in San Antonio (27+ inches of rain in Sept). I pulled out the modules and tried to get some track down. The area I have been deliberating is how to get the joints installed, using a butt-joint method that would be somewhat precise. The joints have alignment pins between them, so I can get a fairly repeatable assembly. I took out the belt sander, made sure there was a level joint between modules, and installed wooden roadbed blocks cut from 1/4 luan plywood (sanded for a continuous level interface):

    I glued down the Gapmaster PC board tie sets with just a little space between them and overlayed flex track with ties removed. These are soldered and then the rail joint was cut with the jewelers saw used for the frog isolation joints on the FastTracks turnouts. I used a small jig from MicroMark's track laying tools to guide the saw right at the interface.

    The joints have turned out pretty well with the same gap as a turnout frog, so I think close enough:

    So, packed things up this morning, after deciding I need to make a few more turnouts (parts on the way). I managed to get track down on 3+ modules, including three of these joints fairly repeatably.

    These included the MoPac Interchange, with enough room for 2-3 cars:

    A siding module for the marshaling of coal cars:

    as well as a bit of work on a module that will have a shallow creek and bridge, branching off into Weir, and on the far end, the Cherokee diamond (only some track there).

    Hopeful to be home in October. With the weather cooling just a bit, maybe more progress in store for the Crawford and Cherokee.


    -Bob T.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
  12. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Happy Weekend All,

    I was staring at the existing module from the old Crawford and Cherokee and wondering about the best way to incorporate it in the new layout. To use it in the same way as the other "waffle" design modules, I will have to take the plywood main section and add the frame. It would be nice if the intersections between modules were somewhat near perpendicular on the edges. My most recent plan had a >45 degree interface of track. I would either need to build a bump-out or find a way to get a reliable connection with a large angle. It also did not fit an existing end plate connection.

    I have come up with the following plan to incorporate that module at the end of the Cherokee module, constructing an underlying rectangle of plywood, and building the underlying waffle up around the assembly.

    This places the mine south of Cherokee, where there was actually a "Lightning Creek Coal Company", but on the west side of the tracks. Close enough, I guess. This will be the "Lightning Creek Mine". (Map posted earlier on Frisco Site by Dale Rush).


    This also allows me to use what was a module for the end of a run-around in Weir as one with a bit more scenery, adding a stock pen. Some drawings of Weir in the early 20th century show several yard tracks in this area, so not too much of a stretch I hope.

    Hopefully, will have time this weekend for putting some track down.

    -Bob T.
  13. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Managed some time today with the layout modules. Installed track and GapMaster ties on the Cherokee yard and Diamond modules. Alignment seems to be working pretty well with these.

    Still need to add a few ties at the rail joiners and solder a few connectors. There is a GapMaster set at the end nearest the camera for connecting the existing mine module.

    Maybe some work on the Weir modules next weekend. Slow going, but fun all the way.

    -Bob T.
  14. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Frisco Friends,

    The nicest day in San Antonio since last spring allowed for some track to be put down on the remainder of the Crawford and Cherokee modules. No work travel in October (so far) has provided for a little time to work on the layout.

    Assembled the modules on the Weir side of the layout and have just about all of the track down:

    This included installing ALL of the remaining GapMaster sets at the boundaries/frontiers of the module connections.

    The most recent track plan above included a small spur for a stock pen. It will provide for one spot (yes, I know, not a stock car):

    When putting in the track on the corner module, I had a nice salvaged RH turnout from the old layout, and decided to add a spur that would represent a lead to the "Young Mine #2" from the map above. This will give a second mine for switching, but will not include a mine model, just a lead in to set out and pick up cars.

    Updated track plan:

    There was a bit of time this evening after the glue dried, so pushed around a few cars to test turnouts and appearance of curves. Had to tweak the points a bit on the FastTracks cross-over in Weir, but it seems OK after a bit clean up.

    I also had to put the curve a bit tighter on the north end of Weir. It looks OK at about 24" radius with 40-ft cars, but might improve with a curved turnout. I built a short RH #6 as in the plan, but it resulted in a curve with the track toward the edge of the roadbed. It is probably OK for now.

    It is pretty clear that this much of the layout (even better with the MoPac Interchange and Coal Marshaling modules) will make a nice switching layout. Next, I will get out the DCC (SPROG) and try to run a locomotive and shake out the track and connections where there is continuity. Maybe even get part of the main track bus in.

    Well, I hope everyone had a good weekend. Next weekend there is a train show in New Braunfels, TX. Going to pick up a few supplies, as I used all of my remaining flex track, rail joiners, name it. If anyone is going to be there, let me know and I will treat you for lunch.

    Have a good week all,

    -Bob T.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
  15. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Frisco Friends,

    Made it to the train show in New Braunfels this weekend and was able to re-supply some items, courtesy of Spring Creek Model Trains. You would think that in a town the size of San Antonio, a guy could regularly buy some Micro Engineering flex track....

    Finished up rail joints, including soldering them up. Tested much of the track work on 5 of the modules withe the old 0-5-0 switcher. Seems to be ready for power and some test runs. While in the process, I decided that there was too much pink in this part of Crawford and Cherokee counties, so put down a base coat of dirt colored paint. Also trimmed the fascia to match some initial terrain cuts.

    The starting point for a small creek and wood trestle was also cut out to a 1" depth.

    Somewhere on this site is an example of such a wooden trestle, maybe by Jim James? Anyhow, that will be a project soon.

    You will also notice that I tried out a near black fascia color. Inputs on the look are welcomed.

    Anyhow, next up is hoisting modules onto the workbench and soldering up some feeders, power buses (DCC and accessory) and switch machines. Still have those left over from the previous layout.

    Hope all are well,

    -Bob T.
  16. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

  17. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

  18. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Happy Sunday,

    More to come, but power on much of the new Crawford and Cherokee.....first train out of Cherokee toward Weir...

    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  19. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Frisco Friends,

    Spent a good deal of the past week gathering supplies and getting the initial DCC power bus installed in 6 of the 9 layout modules. From the plan above, these are the end of Weir to the coal marshaling siding just before the Cherokee diamond. This stretched my supply of wires and power distribution blocks, but provided a good test setup and plenty for a nice switching layout.

    This sectional approach which allows individual modules to be placed on the workbench is much improved over crawling under bench work. I was able to wire a module’s bus in an evening after work.

    I used some small power distribution blocks from eBay.

    And some larger ones from Amazon on the big Weir module.

    Once all the feeders were wired up, we hooked together the modules.

    And set to test it out. My Digitrax DB150 seems to not have survived storage, so we pulled out the SPROG II and setup the NUC on an improvised table, installed JMRI, and hooked it to the end module pigtail.

    Other than dirty track and some hesitation from a long stored locomotive, we have trains running for the first time in 18 months.

    The honor goes to models from Frisco Friends!

    More to up will be wiring for the remaining modules and switch machines. Need to get the Digitrax command station repaired....

    -Bob T.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  20. gna

    gna Member Supporter

    I meant to take a picture of my friend's layout--I painted the fascia a satin black a month or so ago--but I forgot :oops:
    He wanted black for more of a theater or museum look. It looks good, but to my eye it's a little stark. Another friend used an olive color, which I prefer, but this is definitely in Rule #1 territory. I'll see if I can find pictures.
    Edit: not the best picture

Share This Page