Well, the big day finally arrived on Wednesday, November 24th: Both mainlines' track was completed and the first trains ran on them on the main level, 327 days after the first piece of benchwork went up.......Hooray!!!! It's been a long haul so far, and the journey of this layout has a long way to go!
Here is a video showing the mainlines in operations as of this morning:
Here are some pics to look at things in more detail. First the loops around the coal mine area:
Next the area heading into the town (one of these days I'm going to have to start naming these places)....
A further look around the town area toward where the depot will be:
Continuing further east along the layout:
Finally the loop above the helix:
After the video and above pictures were shot, I began to work on some train protectors along the hidden part of the track. These protectors will help stop the engines and/or cars during a derailment from falling off of the roadbed on the upper level onto the lower level or, even worse, onto the floor. With the cost of rolling stock these days it only makes sense to do this to help prevent destroying the rolling stock. I'm only installing these on what will be the hidden track, as the visible track will have scenery around it to catch any derailments.
I'm building these with 1.5" wide strips of 1/8th inch masonite hardboard and some 1 inch corner brackets screwed to the bottom of the wooden subroadbed. Here is a closeup that shows how it is mounted:
Here is another area showing some of the protector boards. As you can see, the corner braces hold it in place, with a few screws here and there to secure it. Doesn't have to be pretty, just effective:
Here is the coal mine part of the layout with all of the protector installed on that side:
Next couple of weeks things will slow down some, with the holidays approaching. I'll work on a few odds & ends during that time, mostly some DCC stuff like installing decoders and working on routes. However, I already have plans made for over the Christmas holidays to pick up some styrofoam sheets to start the scenery contours!!
One final video before we go. I shot this for our friends at N Scale website, a great resource for the N Scale Model Railroader. See y'all soon!!!