9.04.2016

THE METRO IS RUNNING!

Finally! After months and months or planning, building, delaying and so on, we have activity on Quinntopia again! Whoohoo!

Here are some 'action photos'...

On the girder section approaching the station...

On the high extension over the main railway right of way....
Another angle...this portion of the structure was complicated to build as each of my elevated sections is meant to come apart, and also need to be level, stable and look good (while also allowing for four or five tracks below!)
 This shot sort of shows the entire loop. Ultimately you won't be able to see the entire loop as much of it will be blocked by buildings!
While much of the time was spent trying to figure out how to scratch build an elevated trestle system, an equally large share of time (and money!) was spent trying to figure out how to automate DCC equipped trains so that they automatically stop, wait, and then depart from the station.  The solution to that problem came from the Viessmann 5208.  This is an automatic timer unit that connects to insulated rails (a total of four blocks) and allows for automatic detection, stopping and then acceleration.
I was curious about how this unit would work with my Digitrax DZ-125 Equipped Kato Ginza Line Metro, and it does seem to work just fine! Although the 'crawling' section' portion does not feature the deceleration proposed in the items feature lists, which may be due to the decoder (more on this later). These units are not particularly cheap (about $80) and will only operate on one track, but compared to  upgrading to a Z21 or Viessmann Commander or ESU ECOS, these are much more affordable options at this time.

Now that I've proven I can get train automation to work, I need to get a second 5208, another 'metro' train (I debate whether I should go for an identical or similar Kato Ginza, or something a bit more 'vintage' looking...any suggestions?) so that the elevated line has real 'action' with two trains running in opposite directions!

Then I can finish the station - platforms, roof, lighting (you can see the electrical leads for my eventual lighting of the station interior in the video!) and then start mapping out streets and building placement! And then, and THEN...its on to laying down track for the 'main' railway lines!

7.31.2016

ELEVATED TRANSIT ALMOST READY!

The elevated Metro line is almost complete: All tracks and elevated structures are done with soldered leads, color-coded drop lines, rust painted rails, and flat black base coat.  The only thing actually keeping me from running trains is that I still need to add track to the station and wire everything up....
With the basic form of the elevated line now established, I can actually start to move on to other areas....like setting up the actual city and the main rail lines! But, not so fast...
First, all of the elevated structures have come off the layout for two reasons - one additional pass with the airbrush to add a bit more color to the side-wall girder sections (whatever they are called) and to also lay down the sintra material I decided to stick with for my streets/city underlayment. Unlike with my last layout, I felt my city streets were too 'black' and decided to go with a grey color this time (I think it looks more 'worn' and has a slightly older feel).

In addition to the 'flat' city area, my little hill on the north end of the layout is getting straights laid across its terrain!
In my next post, I hope to have the final paint for the elevated structures complete, and have the elevated section completely operating. I have another 'automated stop' device that I will be testing as well. So stay tuned!

6.28.2016

LATVERIA METRO: 75% COMPLETE!

A major mini-milestone has been completed! The base for the Metro station is done and the overall station is now 75% complete! What began seven months ago as an idea to do something more classic than the Kato Suburban Station is finally nearing completion! Behold! The Latveria Metro Station!
In addition to the four Walthers Northern Light Power Stations, the building also uses Greenmax Concrete Viaduct Piers as accents.  The only item surviving from the Kato station is the stairway shown in the above photo.  The above is the 'front' entrance' with a wide pedestrian arcade or entrance...

Above is the rear of the building.  Not much to say. I had hoped to NOT have to build a rear to this building to save both time and money, but no better plan presented itself for what to do on the back side, so another long cycle of cutting, gluing, etc... took place.
Another shot of the front of the building. The ground floor is lit with LED strip lights. I used two different colors...a 'white' LED for the common/public areas, and a warmer color for the interior shops.
One of the major challenges to get to this stage was determining what to do with the interior facing walls of the train area.  Just painting the plastic would not look good. I thought of adding a thin styrene facade, but the idea of cutting out 40 windows was not something I was looking forward to. Fortunately, paper seemed like a good idea, and the website paperbrick.co.uk has a great tool for selecitng and printing multiple brick patterns. What a cool tool! Made my day. Above is a photo of the printed brick patterns being trimmed to fit the interior walls.
Now that the foundation is complete...I can work on finishing both the elevated metro track system and the platforms/roof/interior of the station. That means we're actually getting closer to running trains!

But not so fast...I still need to figure out how to automate the station stops for the metro trains. After futilely working with some non-conventional items, I am convinced I need to put on the big boy pants and go with a Loconet system / DCC / Computer (or Command Center) to automate these trains.  It seems the only really effective way to make it work.  Yes, SOME of you tried to warn me of this several months ago...I get it! You were right! :-0

And with that...see you next time!