Sunday, November 15, 2009

Charlottesville passengers now have a depot.

Over the past few weeks I've been "adding to" the flat from a previous layout that has served as Main Street Station in Charlottesville.
It's on the layout now, and I was pretty pleased with the results. I'll probably adjust it's actual location a bit more as the area between the Southern & C&O tracks on the layout isn't exactly like the real thing. I had to shorten the depth of the main building some because of space considerations, but all and all I think it looks good there. If I had been building it from scratch I probably wouldn't have detailed the Southern side since it's not really visible, but since I had already built that part, adding onto it means there's detail on that side too.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ya gotta hate it when the roof walks end!

At the October 4th VBR&S Operating Session, the Monroe Yard crew employed this guy to handle the close up work. He even walked the roof walks on a moving train until interrupted by a lack of more roof walks. See more shots from the session by pressing "Operating Sessions" on the right.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A quick tour of some nice spots

With all the signal work lately, it was nice to look around the layout as I cleaned track for the next op session. Here are a few shots of buildings waiting for scenery around them.
I built the Amherst Depot a few years ago. This one is in my home town and still exists, although it was moved from track side a couple of years ago. The real thing is awaiting money to be made into a welcome center for the town of Amherst. The backdrop here is about the only area I've painted and I'm not sure I'm happy with it. I may experiment with actual photo backdrops.Kemper Street Station in Lynchburg is probably the most complicated scratch built structure I've ever built, but it came out okay and resides at the south end of the layout in Lynchburg.
This is a Walthers kit doubled in size to represent Quality Foods an actual industry near Monroe. It is not meant to replicate the real Quality Foods which is a rambling single story affair.
Lynchburg's Lower basin is home to a lot of industries on the VBR&S as it was on the real Southern in 1956. Most of the buildings here are from Radical Flats and are of the actual buildings that still exist in the lower basin. Here we're looking at NB Handy on the right with two other actual lower basin structures visible beyond.
At the other end of the Lower Basin along Lynchburg's Jefferson Street we find Piedmont Mills. This is a temporary version from the guys at Radical Flats as they are still working on the roof details on this building.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What all the fuss has been about.

Any of you who have seen me in the past two months have probably been subjected to a long dissertation on the somewhat involved installation of signals on the two ends of the visible layout. I finally finished it late last week. Oh there are still some labels to add to the dispatchers board, but it all works and the electronics is done. Here are some pictures and explanations.
The Dispatcher's desk now has a small CTC type board to control the two ends of the layout, Montview and Rio. While the layout is double tracked completely (as was the prototype in 1956) the hidden reverse loops at either end are such that only one train may move into or out of them at a's an electronics thing and it's not a problem, but every session someone forgets and it causes a short which shuts things down momentarily. Now the dispatcher can control a signal for every movement into and out of the reverse loops. There can be a green signal in only one direction.
This is the Lynchburg end of the board (south end of the layout), and the signal is for Montview. In's it's middle position so there is a red signal for both northbound and southbound traffic . You might have to click on the picture to make it large enough to see the green detector lights in the schematic. These enable the dispatcher to "see" a train moving past the signal, so he can again make it red. These are strictly controlled by the dispatcher, and not any automation.
This is the Charlottesville (north end), the signal representing Rio, and it is flipped to allow southbound traffic to proceed, northbound will have a red signal.
That means the southbound traffic can come out of hidden holding, and the signal for that is on the hidden loop routing board in the access door as you see here.
On the Montview board the northbound signal is red.
As is the southbound signal at Kemper Street Station for entering the Montview reverse loop.
Looking northbound at Charlottesville is the red signal that not only protects the C&O crossing but also the entrance into the reverse loop beyond Main Street Overpass. Try to ignore the scenic model railroad parts that represent the city of Charlottesville at the moment.
Lets face it, adding signals is a lot of wiring and doing so after the fascia is in takes a lot of crawling around up under things. Getting the Montview signal and detector wiring over to the dispatcher's location on the Rio side meant crawling into the attic and pulling cables. Then it all had to be hooked up correctly..whew!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

More Signals!

I've been crawling around up under the layout again. The reason I say UP UNDER is the fascia is in my way, so I have to go under, and then try to fit in between the bench work to install a lot of this. That's why my progress is so slow. Never the less, I have now installed signals on either side of Monroe. They look just like the others already pictured, so no point in showing that, but these have an addition. You see our Yard Master finds the need to stretch his switching jobs outside of yard limits on occasion, so he wanted to be able to hold trains away from Monroe a bit. I've named the signals after the real thing, Winesap on the south end, and McIvor on the north, but their locations are off because it's a model railroad and there just wasn't room to do it realistically. Winsap is just north of the James River trestle, McIvor is just south of Amherst on the VBR&S.

Our Yard Master gets a small CTC like panel where green indicates the normal condition of the ABS, but if he needs to hold an expected train, as he is the southbound train at McIvor in this picture, he can override the normal green aspect. Now, before you signal purists call me on it, I'm aware that a single head red aspect can be passed as long as the engineer can stop his train in half the distance he can see, but on the VBR&S, because of the shorter distances involved, we will consider it a stop signal. Okay?

This shot shows you where the Yard Master's panel is located on the fascia at Monroe. I was rather pleased with the way this turned out, although I used or pulled muscles I didn't know I had getting into the awkward positions necessary to install the wiring under Monroe Yard. As soon as I recover, I have another signal module and a set of signals ready to be installed somewhere else.