Sunday, December 16, 2007

DCC and Spline Roadbed

I purchased a Digitrax DCC system from Tony's Train Exchange for this layout. I also ordered 4 circuit breakers to allow me to have 4 power blocks. I have been operating on others layouts for several years now and you really enjoy the realism of operations that DCC allows. Then you add sound powered locomotives and the model starts being the real world in your mind.

I finally completed laying the staging yard trackage and dropped all the staging track feeders to the staging district power bus 2 weeks ago. Then I opened all the boxes for the DCC system and started reading. After getting the basics of the connections I hooked up the system and powered it up. Sound came up on the Loco and I started blowing the horn and used the bell. Now I need to sit down and figure out how to work with the CV's to properly address the Loco's I have. 3 have been purchased with DCC and sound. I have a bunch that will need DCC added and sound to some.

With the DCC system set up and tested it is time to continue with roadbed installation. I will use spline roadbed for most of the layout and plywood sheet for the town of Sanford and the other large industries. The first spline were installed last night coing out of staging heading towards the Talc plant west of Sanford. Some call it easy spline but I am already thinking that is a stretch of the imagination. I may change my opinion once I have more time working with it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Current construction status

The staging yard is in, I am going to wire in all the track leads and the main bus today.

From staging to Sanford will be spline roadbed construction. Last weekend I cut a good quantity of splines from 1/4" hardboard. This is a new technique for me but it is used by many people these days. IF I get that far today then I will post a picture next week.

Short entry today, the morning construction start time has arrived.

E-Mail subscription service added

Added a subscription service today. If you would like e-mail notification when I post you can sign up.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Railroads Operations

Operations based on the current layout design will center on operations around Sanford, Me.
Portland, Me. and Rochester, NH. are represented by a three track staging yard. There will be an Eastbound and Westbound way freight staged here along with a B&M interchange train.

Sanford will host a local that will be powered by the only Portland and Rochester wholly owned locomotive (this will be either an Atlas MP15 or Athearn MP15 switcher) which will be painted for the P&R. The road will also rent power from other regional railroads such as the B&M, D&H, MEC (This will allow my current fleet of locomotives to be used) for the through freights.

Thomas Cement has it's own switcher an ex-Pennsy SW-7, which will bring an additional operator position to the layout.

So now we have 5 possible operator positions for a session:

RP-1 the Rochester to Portland Job
PR-2 the Portland to Rochester Job
BI-1/2 the B&M interchange turn
Sanford Local
Thomas Cement Switcher

I think this would keep 3-6 people busy during an operating session.

Basic Schedule:

Sanford local starts session by collecting outbound cars and spotting any left over inbound cars at the local Sanford industries.

At the same time the B&M interchange Train is arriving at the interchange and swaps it's cars with any interchange cars.

The cement switcher is collecting outbound cars for pick up, sorting them into and eastbound and westbound blocks.

West bound way freight arrives at interchange and picks up cars bound for Sanford and western points. Westbound continues to cement siding and picks up all outbound cars, drops cars for plant. Westbound continues to Sanford and drops local cars, eastbound cement cars, picks up west bound cars. Westbound proceeds to Rochester.

Sanford local makes a run to Talc plant to swicth out cars, while eastbound way freight passes.

Eastbound way freight proceeds from Rochester to Sanford and drops off local cars and picks up eastbound cars. Eastbound proceeds to interchange and drops, picks up cars. Eastbound proceeds to Portland.

Sanford local follows eastbound way freight to Sanford from Talc plant and drops talc loads, picks up any cement plant loads and runs them to cement plant siding by a backing move.

The cement plant switcher would be busy throughout session positioning cars and shuffling inbounds and outbounds from cement siding.

Having fun yet? I am...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Portland and Rochester Shortline

The imagineering behind the layout.

The time frame is 1961, when the Boston and Maine filed to abandone the line, officials in Sanford and the Maine capitol searched for an operator to take the line. In order to make this sweeter generous tax breaks and incentives were being offered to the operator and any new business or industry that would locate along the line.

Three major industries took the offer and established operations in or near Sanford/Springvale Maine.

Thomas Cement - Established a cement plant between Rochester and Sanford.

Maine Wood and Paper Products - When the Goodall Mills (textile manufacturing) shut down, MWPP renovated the structures in Springvale and expanded to manufacture various paper based products and eventually added additional capacity to include a recycled wood/paper product called Tough Panel (TM) used in the construction of interior walls for stores and businesses in malls and shopping centers.

Eastern Talc The mine was opened due to a rich vein of the material found North of Sanford. It's output was specifically for the paper industry in Maine and Eastern Canada.

Various other existing business took the advatages of breaks to expand including:

LaValley Lumber - Having a Mill north of town they took a step into the building materials supply business and opened a new recieving and distribution facility for brick, block and specialty lumbers. Located in the new Sanford Industrial Park in 1974.

Simpson Fuels - A bulk fuel (Gas, Oil, Propane and Coal) dealer.

Purina - Feed mill for chicken feed.

Alexander Foods - Opened a consolidated bakery food manufacturing plant that produced Potato chips, cookies and other bakery products for new england chain store operator Hannaford Bros. Located in the newly established Sanford Industrial Park in 1974.

Sanford Recycling - Scrap metal recycler.

New England Appliance Mfg - Maker of energy efficient wood stoves, fireplaces and out door grills.

Next time I will discuss the Portland and Rochester Railroad as it developed from 1961 onward to the mid 1970's.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Researching and decision

To start with I am a huge fan of the Maine Central Rail Road (MEC). I have developed and built 3 previous HO scale layouts based on MEC trackage and have been building MEC models since my school years. The most recent layout was based on operations of Brunswick Yard and was in the room that I am building the current layout. Due to compromises I made in the design and several reconstructs I became unhappy with the layout and it came down. I then started analyzing what I really wanted in a layout.

Desires: Interesting scenery, switching with some mainline running, operations based on prototype practices, DCC and sound powered locomotives.

I also looked at doing other rail roads I had always been interested in and a possible change in scale to get longer mainline runs in the space I had for the layout.

Rio Grande - would require N-scale to get the look I wanted -discarded.
Lehigh Valley - Loved the paint schemes - Discarded.

While digging on the Net about Maine Rail Lines I found the Portland and Rochester RR. It ran from Portland ME to Rochester NH. B&M absorbed it in the early 1900's and it was a branch until abandoned in 1961.

What if it was taken over as a shortline instead?

More on that next time.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Added Track Plan

I added the trackplan to the page.

A new start

Hi all! I am going to try a new way of keeping anyone up to date on what is going on in my model railroad empire.

If you have known me over the years I have always been focused on the MEC. I have decided to go with a different approach this time.

The Portland and Rochester RR was a real line running from Rochester NH to Portland ME. It was taken in as a B&M branch and lasted until the early 1960's before being abandoned.

In my world it became a shortline and will survive through today.

More to come on the back ground story.