Author Topic: Alaskan Interior Railway: Tok Branchline  (Read 9257 times)

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AKNscale

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Alaskan Interior Railway: Tok Branchline
« on: December 25, 2016, 03:13:02 PM »
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Hello all,

So I've been around for a while here on this site posting randomly. I, like many N scalers have accumulated quite a collection but have never had an actual layout. So here's my back story.

I started in HO when I was 12 I think. My dad built a 4X8 table so we could build a layout, but it never went beyond that. I eventually moved on to computer games. Fast forward to 2009, when I came back from Iraq, one of my really good friends asked me to go with him to the train club on base. I went with and realized how much I missed model railroading. At the time, N scale was much more appealing because of what you can do in a small area with it. However, as small as it is, I still haven't had any space for it until recently. The club that we went to also introduced me to Jerry's Washington Belt RR and the amazing people that operate there. They all showed me how much fun can be had in operations, and how to be a much better modeler.

About a year ago my wife and I bought a house, and I immediately claimed a room for trains. Up until about a month ago, the closest thing to a layout I'd had was a track plan on the floor. At my last apartment I used Atlas True-Track, right after moving into the house I moved over to Kato Unitrack. Like this:


For years I knew what I wanted to build for a first layout but was needing to hoard if I wanted to fluidly build it. About a month ago I explained to a few friends of mine what I planned on doing and they gave me some solid advice, start small.

So, I knew that I wanted a portable layout that would allow me to do operations, but would still let me just run trains if I wanted. So, I decided that a 3X6 would do nicely for giving me what I wanted, which started out looking like this:


I decided I wanted more operation abilities on top of taking a recommendation to add an interchange track:


The track you see was used just for Ops planning and testing. Originally I was going to hand lay in code 55 & 40, but decided that I wanted to be up and running as fast as possible, so code 55 Atlas would be the better choice for me this time. Here's the first setup of it:


I edited it a little and made the interchange track straight and lengthened the team track a bit, I also still need to finish the the siding track at the east end of the yard:


This is as far as I've gotten on the build. I have some other goodies for this layout that I will show in the next post.

AKNscale

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Re: Alaskan Interior Railway: Tok Branchline
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2016, 03:18:44 PM »
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So, recently (a year ago) I realized that I really wanted some small switchers, but, the MP15's that I'd bought quite a while ago have given me problems on and off. They also wouldn't be easy to add sound to, if I wanted it. Then Atlas came out with their amazing S-2 models, with sound! That made my decision, I want sound capabilities and to convert my locos to ESU LOKsound. I quickly acquired a LOKprogrammer so I would be able to take advantage of all of their features. Then I found the ECoS. I himmed and hawed for a bit then made my decision:

I just had to...

Also, MTL has just come out with a new coupler system called True-Scale. I was thoroughly impressed and just had to try them out. All of my rolling stock slated for this layout except for 2 have been converted over:


The loco in that pic however now has a long shank coupler:


Side note: In case anyone is looking for some answers on how well these couplers work, so far they've performed well on my layout, however, in order to get them to function without derailments as 12.5" radius curves are a bit too sharp, even for my 33' hoppers, there was a bit of custom work necessary to get them to work properly for me. I can delve into that if any of y'all are interested.

Philip H

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Re: Alaskan Interior Railway: Tok Branchline
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2016, 03:19:34 PM »
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Nice - we have a lot of guys doing variations on the Hollow Core Door - and you have an HCD dimensionally.

Why AK railroad?
Philip H.
Chief Everything Officer
Baton Rouge Southern RR - Mount Rainier Division.

"Yes there are somethings that are "off;" but hey, so what." ~ Wyatt

"I'm trying to have less cranial rectal inversion with this." - Ed K.

"There's more to MRR life than the Wheezy & Nowheresville." C855B

AKNscale

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Re: Alaskan Interior Railway: Tok Branchline
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2016, 03:46:46 PM »
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Ever since I was stationed up here in AK I really liked seeing the AK RR. I figured making an off shoot of it would be a lot of fun. I also think I would enjoy modeling Alaska too.

central.vermont

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Re: Alaskan Interior Railway: Tok Branchline
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2016, 07:46:00 AM »
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Hello all,

So I've been around for a while here on this site posting randomly. I, like many N scalers have accumulated quite a collection but have never had an actual layout. So here's my back story.

I started in HO when I was 12 I think. My dad built a 4X8 table so we could build a layout, but it never went beyond that. I eventually moved on to computer games. Fast forward to 2009, when I came back from Iraq, one of my really good friends asked me to go with him to the train club on base. I went with and realized how much I missed model railroading. At the time, N scale was much more appealing because of what you can do in a small area with it. However, as small as it is, I still haven't had any space for it until recently. The club that we went to also introduced me to Jerry's Washington Belt RR and the amazing people that operate there. They all showed me how much fun can be had in operations, and how to be a much better modeler.

About a year ago my wife and I bought a house, and I immediately claimed a room for trains. Up until about a month ago, the closest thing to a layout I'd had was a track plan on the floor. At my last apartment I used Atlas True-Track, right after moving into the house I moved over to Kato Unitrack. Like this:

I edited it a little and made the interchange track straight and lengthened the team track a bit, I also still need to finish the the siding track at the east end of the yard:


This is as far as I've gotten on the build. I have some other goodies for this layout that I will show in the next post.

Do I spy a Fast Track #7 switch on your table? Are you planning on building your own?
That's a good start you have so far and will be watching your progress.

Jon

AKNscale

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Re: Alaskan Interior Railway: Tok Branchline
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2016, 12:50:17 PM »
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It is a #5, I have #5's and 7's in both code 40 and 55. I was going to hand lay, but I'm worried about the time it will take to get it done so I moved to Atlas c55 instead. However, I still really want to hand lay in 40 & 55. I was very disappointed that I can't find 40 switches. I may still move back to doing hand laying as I haven't permanently set the track yet.

AKNscale

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Re: Alaskan Interior Railway: Tok Branchline
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2016, 01:01:05 AM »
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Minor update for today.
Put in the yard lead:


I also changed the main curves to 13.75" radius instead of the 12.5" that they were before, here's how it looks now:


I think I'm going to stick with the Atlas c55 track so now I'll have to go through all the switches to make sure that they're all nice and smooth. I've found a couple that like to get picked by my rolling stock, otherwise everything runs good as is.

AKNscale

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Re: Alaskan Interior Railway: Tok Branchline
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2017, 02:49:08 PM »
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Thanks for the comments guys, not much has been happening on the layout lately as I worked on cleaning up the layout room and am now focusing on mounting a LOKsound decoder in one of my SD50s. Hopefully I'll have that finished today.

MichaelWinicki

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Re: Alaskan Interior Railway: Tok Branchline
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2017, 03:41:14 PM »
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I think you've done an A1 job!

You've got a small yard.

You've got some switching.

You've got an interchange.

The yard lead is kinda long, maybe you can have it do double-duty and have an industry at the end of it.

One thing I would do is throw another industrial track across the present industrial track that has the 2 tank cars & 2 box cars, using a 22 degree crossing... Why?  I like crossings! LOL!  They make the trackage look that much more interesting.

central.vermont

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Re: Alaskan Interior Railway: Tok Branchline
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2017, 03:47:53 PM »
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It is a #5, I have #5's and 7's in both code 40 and 55. I was going to hand lay, but I'm worried about the time it will take to get it done so I moved to Atlas c55 instead. However, I still really want to hand lay in 40 & 55. I was very disappointed that I can't find 40 switches. I may still move back to doing hand laying as I haven't permanently set the track yet.

Do you actually have the assembly fixtures for doing these from Fast Track?

Jon

AKNscale

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Re: Alaskan Interior Railway: Tok Branchline
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2017, 04:24:19 PM »
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Thanks for the responses guys!

MichaelWinicki: can you show me a little example of what you're thinking with the crossing idea, I actually have a 22 degree crossing just waiting to be used. I was going to have the yard lead cross the main to go to another module with a grain elevator, but alas, Alaska doesn't really have farming up north, according to my research 😟.

Central.Vermont: Yes sir I do.

MichaelWinicki

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Re: Alaskan Interior Railway: Tok Branchline
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2017, 04:43:13 PM »
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Here you go...





I also added a turnout at the end of the yard lead track so it could also function as a passing track.

AKNscale

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Re: Alaskan Interior Railway: Tok Branchline
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2017, 04:49:28 PM »
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Ah, I see, those are some good ideas. I'll look more into that when I get back to working on the layout. Not much has been happening with it lately as I worked on cleaning up the layout room and am now focusing on mounting a LOKsound decoder in one of my SD50s. Hopefully I'll have that finished today. That is the plan at the moment.

central.vermont

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Re: Alaskan Interior Railway: Tok Branchline
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2017, 05:20:36 PM »
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I like what you have going for yourself on this. One thought I have is maybe putting in a crossover on your interchange track just in front of the three coal cars you have sitting on it. It would require two left hand switches that would connect just after the left on the main. This would let you drop cars on the interchange and run around them to pick up what is already there then shove the drops back to spot where the pick ups were. Also you could add a left hand switch where the interchange presently ties in now so as to get an industry on the corner. Hopefully I have explained this well because I suck at drawing in photo shop.  :(  Maybe someone else could draw in what I'm saying.  :D

Jon

MichaelWinicki

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Re: Alaskan Interior Railway: Tok Branchline
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2017, 05:39:55 PM »
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You mean like this Jon?