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Alright guys, after some more tweaking, here's the final plan.
the Modules will basically be Luke Towan's method with the added mod of extra bracing over the staging yard since that will be the end of the branch line that splits off by the door. That sections going to be just a hair tricky since I'm going to make it dual mode with DC pulse width modulation throttles. Need a place to test run DC stuff before I convert it, plus I also have a couple friends with DC stuff that'll be able to come over and run. Anyways, I'll put the track plan below and then go over some of the basics. Also, there will be a formal announcment video for the YouTube channel coming, so that'll have more detail
Blue line is the backdrop and the grey lines are the module joints. Access across the openings will probably be via lift-out sections with integrated micro switches to cut track power.
Benchwork Construction: Like i said, modules will be built via Luke Towan's method. The only deviation from this will be staging and the middle of the central peninsula. As far as staging, that's just a matter of putting extra plywood cross members and plywood above that for the town. As for the peninsula, I'm going avoid the sections being bulky by basically having a floating wall. Two strips of 1/4 inch plywood will be laminated to and form a trough that the modules frame can just drop right into. That combined with the leg bracing should make everything rock steady.
Backdrop: Tempered Hardboard, the good 'ole standby, with Trackside Scenery photo backdrops mounted on the hardboard. The sheets will be screwed to pieces of 1X3 that are in turn bolted to the 2X4's. End goal of all this obviously is that when I move to my next house, everything comes apart in sections and everything bolts right back together
Track: I'm going all Peco Code 83 for this one aside from some Atlas #4's and a bunch of leftover Walther's #5's for the end of the branch. Flextrack will be Atlas. As far as attatchment, GapMasters for table joints and curves with Atlas track nails for evrything else. Latex Caulk too in case I ever need to peel a turnout up for whatever reason. Weathering will be same method I'm using now.
Electrical: Aside from the obvious DCC, this layout will have signals via Digitrax hardware and JMRI with a physical panel to eventually follow. As far as the branch line, the plan is to take about a six foot section, double gap at both ends and then add a third double gap in the middle. The toggle to actually make the switch will be mounted behind the fascia so it can't be flipped accidentally. When in DCC, the branchline and both sections will be powered. When the branch line is flipped to DC, both sections will go completely dead. Two or three computer power supplies will be scattered around the layout to supply the various voltage needs for the major areas as well ass LED strip lighting to illuminate the boxed and black-painted staging area. Arduino-powered day and night transistions along with two 120V lines will round out the electrical.
Scenery: Stacked and carved foam with plywood for the flat areas and subroadbed. All the hills will get either a Gatorboard or plywood base to make them removable.
This article first appeared on model-railroad-hobbyist.com