AT&N: Modern-Era Layout

Discussion in 'Freelance' started by trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017), Aug 12, 2012.

  1. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Looking good. Have you ran any trains? That foam roadbed should make for some smooth running.
  2. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    Here is a video of the first run on my new layout. Excuse the mess.

    I am currently operating without a working power pack so I made do with an old laptop power supply with an output of 15-16VDC @ 5A. I used test leads to connect directly it to the track. That's why the train is running like a scaled dog. The laptop power supply currently has two speeds, "stop" and "wide open." I which I could put a potentiometer and direction switch with it. It has "muscle." I have 3 old power packs ranging from 25-35 years old and 6-7 watts. All 3 of them overheat now and shut off after about 30 seconds. They may still be OK for accessories but I'm not sure yet. To make matters worse, I have obviously burned up my MRC 1300 components by experimenting with various higher voltage/amps power supplies ranging from 12VDC @ 12A to 16VDC @ 5A. When I re-connected the MRC 1300 components to their original transformer, the output voltage was 0.00 no matter what. I wasn't ever truly satisfied with the MRC 1300's output so I'm not really upset about it. Besides, now I have an excuse to go ahead and upgrade. Don't get to excited DCC folks. I'm not coming over to the dark side any time soon (maybe later). I may need some help later wiring my 215 Atlas selector. I tried it out but it didn't shut off either of the two blocks I have installed and I have 2 more blocks (run arounds) left to install. Maybe I'll figure out what I'm doing wrong. At least those blocks are getting power. To be continued...
    - Brandon
  3. w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021)

    w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021) 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    Bravo Brandon - looking great and an inspiration to us arm-chair modelers.

    BTW, was that a MS State banner hanging in your train room? Oldest grandson, Ben Grace, is a last-semister senior at state.

    I've driven on that campus many times the past four years. i've ALWAYS gotten lost. I'll get a map before the next trip - December for Ben's graduation.

    Ben is usually the starting center of State's Ice Dawgs hockey team.

    EVERY SEC university has a hockey team. Alabama has both an A and B team. They are all at the club level, but the ADs need to learn how to spell hockey and to build ice arenas on campus. It's only a matter of time before there is SEC NCAA hockey.

  4. w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021)

    w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021) 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    RS-2/3 won't run that fast.
  5. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    That high speed bullet train is a great testament to your smooth track laying skills. I never saw a wobble. Keep us updated.
  6. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    Yes, Doug. I was a community college transfer in '97. I was an instrumental music ed. major and played clarinet in the the MSU "Famous Maroon Band" from Aug. '97 - May '99. I did my student teaching in the fall of '99 at a high school for my final semester just before graduation in Dec 1999. I have been a HS band director ever since. Since this is HS football season / marching band season, my "hobby time" is consumed with marching band practices. I began constructing this layout on Aug. 1. This video was made Sept. 2. So my progress isn't too bad for a high school band director this time of year. Having grown up in west Alabama, I was an Alabama fan until Miss. St. offered me a scholarship package that I couldn't refuse. My extended family relatives say I sold out. My reply is always, "And your point is...?" Hail State!

    Jim, the smoothness is due to my use of flex track as much as possible. The entire loop (about 136" x 44") is code 100 flex track except for the 5 turnouts and the diamond. I would like to go to code 83 (or whatever the number is) some day for more realism, but right now, using what I have is more important than shelling out the dough for code 83 track, especially the turnouts. I prefer flex track because it cuts down on the number of sections of rail by 75%... from four 9" sections to a single 36" section. Also, for people who run bus wires and solder leads to every section of track like I do, it cuts down on time/work spent on wiring leads and soldering by 75%. It takes a lot less work to solder one 36" piece vs. four 9" pieces. I recently did the math for circumference (C= 2 x 3.14 x 22") and realized that it takes a little less than four sections of 36" flex track to make a 22" radius circle (or 2 ends of an oval in my case) vs. sixteen 9" curved sections. Less track sections = less joints = less chance for derailments = less time re-railing derailed trains = more time running trains / working on scenery. However, my old atlas snap track turnouts still pose problems along the plastic frogs for some locomotives. I've tried trimming the frogs down a little but I still have some work to do. It seems like the frogs lift locomotives off of the rails which wreaks havoc, especially when running my 0-4-0's. I used a chalk line to align my long straights. To draw a smooth curve, I simply set up some old 22" radius powerlocs track (with plastic roadbed), traced around it, then laid my new roadbed down where the powerlocs track had been. That's the best thing I've found for drawing plans on a layout for smooth curves. I used DAP adhesive to lay roadbed one night and again to lay track a night or two later. While the DAP was still wet/pliable, I looked down the track like the foreman of a team of gandy dancers and made sure the track was aligned like I wanted it before the DAP dried. Then I laid heavy stuff (anything I could find) on the rail to hold it in place while the DAP dried over night. I hammer track nails in about 3/4 of the way in to hold the curves in place until the DAP dried, then I pulled the nails out with a hammer. Oh, I also solder flex track sections together in curves before laying the track so that the joints are a smooth radius. I broke off a few extra ties in places where it was easier to come back and slide ties under the rails (after trimming off the spikes) than cutting rail numerous times. I just allowed the inside joints to fall where they wanted to and then went back and trimmed off one end of the inside rails at the ends of the curve. That way, I only had to make one cut per curve or only 2 cuts = less work = less room for error). - Brandon
  7. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Brandon, if you have an NMRA Standards gauge, check the gauge of the wheelsets on your locomotives. The most common reason reason wheels lift in turnouts is tight wheel gauge. If you don't have a gauge, I recommend getting one. It will help make for smoother operations. Additionally, I would recommend that your future purchases of turnouts be ones that have metal frogs that could be powered depending on turnout direction. The dead plastic frogs will often cause short wheelbase (0-4-0, and 4 axle switchers) to stall due to loss of electrical contact.
  8. w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021)

    w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021) 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    Brandon, fully understand. I'm a fellow band geek. I actually have and play a mellophone. If you have a horn line, spend a lot of time getting them to play in tune. They are right in the peak hearing range (alto) of the judges.

    I've been playing trumpet for 64 years and do a little teaching.

    Enjoy the layout. Dloug
  9. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    That would be nice. Mizzou's club team has to play home games in Jeff City at the Washington Park Ice Arena. I'd love to have a place in town where my daughter and I could skate.

    Brandon, I saw both the State pennant and the Mississippi mailbox. A house divided? We're looking forward to having the Bulldogs come to town for Thursday night football this year.

    At any rate, I really like the Sulligent Cotton Oil Co. building. What did you use to construct it?

    I'll be eager to see/hear how the clay will work for a road service. Seems like it might take some sanding; I'm not even sure if it's sandable, once dried. I always seem to have a bucket of joint compound around that serves as my pavement. I have used mastic before to try it out and I actually how it looks a little rougher than the joint compound. The downside is that it doesn't sand quite as well after it dries.

    Best Regards,
  10. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    Our house is definitely not divided. My wife has always been a Miss. St. fan and my scholarship to Mis. St. saved me from the path to obnoxiousness, also known as The University of ("Tuscaloser") Alabama. I never intended to include the picture of the Mississippi a.k.a Ole Miss a.k.a "Old Mess" mailbox in that post. I saw it in our local hardware store, took the picture, sent it to my brother-in-law (a Tennessee fan), and told him he should buy it for his wife (an Old Mess graduate).

    When I started thinking about building the model of the Sulligent Cotton Oil Co. building (my first and only scratch built model), users of suggested Walthers Cornerstone brick sheets ( and Evergreen's HO corrugated metal sheets for the roof. I hot glued some square dowels inside the long walls to keep them straight. I also used the roofing for shutters (vertical) and garage doors (horizontal). When I think of it, I'll post pics of it from different angles. Here's a video I made with pictures during construction.

    As for the clay, I've never used it but I plan on using some type of roller to smooth is out before it dries. I also have some Crayola air dry clay that I got at a store called "Dirt Cheap" for a price that was, well... dirt cheap. I'm thinking of using it for dirt/gravel roads and other dirt/gravel surfaces. I'll post my results when the time comes.

    - Brandon
    Larry F. likes this.
  11. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    In the previous post Brandon references Evergreens' HO corrugated sheet metal but on the website it only shows this item in various grove spacing lengths. What would be the best spacing to use for HO and N scale?

  12. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    Joe, as you can see in this pic, I used 0.125 groove width roofing. Cutting out pieces for the parapets and building them was the most difficult part. The pieces for the top of each parapet were cut from the smooth edges of the brick sheets which are intended for overlapping multiple sheets on the back side of seams. The most time consuming part of the construction was scoring and cutting out the openings for the windows and doors. My index finger was numb for days from applying pressure over and over again to my exacto knife as I had to go over each score with slightly more pressure each time until I cut all the way through the brick sheets. Each opening took about 15 minutes to cut. I had to change blades about every 4th opening or so. There are 32 openings that had to be cut out. That comes to about 8 hours of delicate cutting and 8 #11 blades. About 2.5 hours per night was all my index finger could take. Once 3 or 4 days had passed since I cut the last opening, my index finger was still numb. I thought I had done permanent nerve damage. Full feeling finally came back about a week later. I also slipped with the exacto knife somewhere in the process and stabbed the left side of my right index finger (I'm a south paw) pretty bad. I didn't sweat, and maybe I didn't cry any tears (but I probably wanted to), but I definitely have blood invested in this building. I used a nickle and scored around the top of each window opening in order to cut them all as uniform as I could. I used a pint jar lid to score around the top of each door. Speaking of the doors, the back side of the roofing makes decent looking garage doors when turned horizontally. You can also see dowels that I hot glued into position to brace the structure. I made the "rafters" from scrap pieces of the brick sheets and cut them to match the pitch of the parapets. I painted the roof, shutters, and the 2nd story door. The doors on the first floor are white so I didn't bother painting them since the roofing material was already white. Hope this answers at least some questions. Let me know if you need any other information. Pictures are shown below - Brandon
  13. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    The combination of my honey do list on Labor Day, 4 consecutive days of abnormally long hours on the job, helping with homework, and other family activities leaves no time for any layout progress this week. However, last night I managed to do something I've had on the back burner for a while... map out the idea behind my layout. I'm freelancing a fantasy that a new AT&N has acquired and built back the entire AT&N and extended it from Reform to Sulligent. Here you can see the route (roughly) of the former Alabama Tennessee & Northern along with my fantasy extention from Reform "Northern" to the connection with the B'ham sub at Sulligent. The era is modern or more specifically "present." This isn't really much of a post but it's something I've been wanting to share.

    Mobile - Reform - Sulligent.jpg
  14. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    Christmas came early today!!! I finally got around to checking my P.O. box. I had some gifts waiting on me thanks to Robert (Bob) Thomas (rjthomas909). This should be incredible!

    rjthomas909 and FriscoCharlie like this.
  15. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    Here's are some clips from tonight's OS with my new (to me) MRC Tech 4 200 power pack.

    This MRC Tech 4 200 has the muscle I've been looking for to run multiple locomotives. In the first clip, I had my Alco RS1 running at 30%. It can run at 25% but can't make it over the plastic frogs at that speed. The 2nd clip shows the power pack running 5 knuckle-coupler units that I had pulling my longest train ever just moments earlier. The train was so long that the rear end of the caboose was only about 2 inches in front of the lead unit. Everything went fine as I carefully and S-L-O-W-L-Y accelerated. However, at 35% throttle, the train string-lined in both curves at the same time. I suppose a DPU or 2 may have helped. It was about 27 feet long but I didn't capture it on video before it string-lined. The final clip shows my first, second, fourth, and fifth locomotives running together... all still with knuckle couplers... for now. The warbonnet U-boat was my first HO loco. It now runs on a replacement motor/chassis. The lead unit came with a double train set from the Sears Christmas catalog in 1990. The 2nd unit (BN geep) was my 4th loco. At age 13 or 14, I bought it at The Sidetrack in Amory, MS with money I had saved up. It cost me $13.00 + tax. The Yellow/Blue SF Warbonnet was my 5th loco. It was given to me by Kenneth Taylor, an older friend I went to church with and with whom I joined a start-up modular club, also in Amory. It was my first "all-wheel-drive" loco. It still runs good to have been out of the box for 22+ years. I had fun and that's what really matters. - Brandon
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  16. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Cool little video. When I was a kid I loved looking at the train sets in the Sears and the JC Penny catalogs.
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  17. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    I managed to take the time to get back in my train room tonight for the first time in a while, de-clutter my layout, and even run a train for a little while. I finally opened and ran a couple of cars that my parents gave me about me 15 months ago. Here's a video.

    The first two cars behind the locomotive are the new cars. I also have a few pictures from tonight's train during a stop at Reform.

    My tie car. I made the ties out of a bag of craft sticks from Hobby Lobby. I glued them together, cut them with a hack saw, and soaked them in a walnut stain over night.

    An old "Phillips 66" tanker.

    What can I say? They'rrrrrree Grrrrreat!

    I know, I know. If you think you don't like it, you should have seen the folks down in York, AL throwing eggs at it when it came through late this afternoon.

    One of 3 Southern RR pulpwood cars that I have. I made a transition car out of one of the other two.

    My Frisco track cleaning car that I bought on ebay a few years ago.

    One of the two cars my parents bought me last year.

    The other car my parents bought. This one is a coil car of course.

    Another ebay buy from a while back... good old Terminal Railway Alabama State Docks, or TASD, 78095.

    The crew pulls AT&N RS-1 #1o1 up next to the Reform depot to go inside and eat a bite of "supper" while waiting for further orders.
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  18. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    I decided to take some pictures in Sulligent for backdrop purposes today. I took 31 pictures from west to east, purposely overlapping a lot. I started at the west end of Front St. south of the tracks, and ended east of Elm St. north of the tracks. That's about the extent of the view in town and the extent of what I need for an 11' backdrop. This first set is from the west end of Front Street to Highway 17. I could never have gotten a shot from the middle of the highway without any traffic Monday-Friday. I'll post the other pictures in the next two posts. I'll have a lot of re-sizing, cropping, cutting, and pasting to do to get to the finished product. This project is bound to take some time.

    8.jpg 1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg 5.jpg 6.jpg 7.jpg
  19. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    More pictures for the Sulligent backdrop. These were taken on the north side of the tracks along Frisco St. from Highway 17, east to Elm St. Some of the shots weren't level. If I can't fix them, I'll have to re-shoot some the un-level ones.

    9.jpg 10.jpg 11.jpg 12.jpg 15.jpg 16.jpg 17.jpg 18.jpg 19.jpg 20.jpg
  20. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    The final set of pictures for the Sulligent backdrop. These run from Elm St., east to the end of the warehouse property. That's the east end of Sulligent for railroad scenery purposes. Wish me luck. I'll be sure to post results at some point.

    30.jpg 23.jpg 24.jpg 25.jpg 26.jpg 28.jpg 29.jpg
    Ozarktraveler and Jim James like this.

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