Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Virgin Railhead 12

Back on Track

It has been a long time since I have had much time for the railroad.  Responsibilities, both for family and farm have kept me away.  I find that after I have been away for a little while, its even harder to get back.  Returning to the rails has not been a matter of spending large amounts of uninterrupted time, but of stealing a few hours here and there.

I placed the golden spike in the Virgin Railhead on Sunday.  Then began the list of trouble shoots, everything from checking the track gauge at the turnouts, and smoothing a couple bumps to accidentally ripping the Hump Yard switch throws off with a soldering iron cord: D'oh!

In short order I decided to rewire the turnouts to use Frog Juicers, set up a used NCE DCC system that I picked up on Ebay, and install two tortoise motors.  At this point, the entire module runs smoothly end to end, and everything is controllable from a wireless throttle.  All I need now is to finish building a handful of freight cars and I can have even more fun.

It's a good thing it all works, because finishing the rail meant that I had to do a little scenery as I went.  The street crossing and irrigation canal crossings had to be completed as I laid the track, otherwise they would be impossible to paint.  I probably have a little more painting to do, but they were far enough along to install.

Finishing the track work taught me a couple of things--not the least of which is that things hanging off the front of the layout are prone to destruction.  I also have a new favorite method for installing turnout motors: hot glue.  I am looking forward to moving on to scenery and structures on the Railhead, and am thinking about the next section, probably going to be river and mountain.  We will see.  One advantage of the modular approach is that you can have a few balls in the air at once.  With luck, I will continue to be able to carve out an hour here and there.


  1. Hi Peter,
    Just found you blog, great pics!

    What are you using for sub roadbed? from the 2nd to the last pic it looks like corrugated cardboard.


    It's nice to run into another farming model railroader. Definitely a tough time of year to make much progress on the layout! (At least in the US)

  2. Mike,

    It is a layer of cardboard on top of a foam sill sealer I had. The effort was aimed at making things quiet, and it worked--though I think I am going to use some homasote on top of the foam on the next bit, we will see how it goes. Seemingly good ideas have a way of getting simpler once I actually implement them. . .

    Thanks for stopping in. .