Wow, three weeks have already gone by since my last post, and it has been a busy time on the Cahaba Southern. I've probably put in another 40+ hours the last 3 weekends plus some weeknights, and good progress is being made. Here is what it typically looks like while all the work is going on, tools and other needed stuff everywhere:
In order to put in the bridges I had built in the last progress report I need to get all the trackwork in place that the bridges will pass over. However, nn order to put in the trackwork I needed to get the power buses and main distribution panel put in. So, it's time to pull a bunch of wire and connect a bunch of connectors, and after a good days of work later it looks like this:
The upper main level will be subdivided into 4 districts: the 2 main lines, the branchline and industries, and the reversing loop. I have a 2nd feed coming off of the DCS200 to supply the main level, and it goes to the PM42 distribution panel shown on the bottom right. The AR1 for the reversing loop is mounted above it. The 4 district bus wires are run through the layout, with each pair coded with different colors of electrical tape to help distinguish it. These bus wires can be seen leaving the distribution on the left. Everything is mounted and hinged to the bottom of the main level and can swing down for maintenance access.
So now that I have power, it is time to lay some track......or is it? Well, almost, one more thing to get done before the track get put down. In another previous progress report I showed the PL-10 switch machines from Peco and the mounts and wiring needed for them. These have to be put in and mounted as the turnouts are laid. So I spend a long afternoon preassembling my switch machines, and here is a pic of some mounted to the main level:
Well, if there are mounted switch machines that must mean that some turnouts and track has been laid...
...and there it is. This pic shows the branchline track coming up from the helix. Note that I've also painted the cork roadbed before putting down the track. I paint my cork roadbed ballast color, and then lay the track attaching it with clear adhesive caulk. Then when I later ballast it it will require less ballast to make it look right as you don't necessarily have to cover as thick. It also helps around turnouts, as ballasting there is a frequent source of problems. Not having to use as much ballast and glue around the turnouts can help prevent problems.
After coming around the bend the branchline is heading into town:
The 2 mainlines are to the outside of the branchline and are not in place yet. Here is another pic of the branchline as it heads towards where the bridges will be:
One final pic of the branchline reverse loop as it sits underneath where the coalmine will be. Where the mainlines will go can be seen around the outside of the branchline:
So the track for the branchline is down, however the feeders have not been connected to the main power buses nor have the insulating gaps been cut into place. Once that is done I will be able to run a train continuously from the lower staging to the upper branchline and back again. For now, I'm pooped, so I'm saving that for next week. Until then!!!