New Platform V

Just made a quick project of repainting the white line along the platform’s edge:

And you can’t really tell in this photoor any photo, reallybut I also sprayed Testors Dullcoat over all the trackwork, including the turntable. This removes the satin sheen of the spray-paint. Took about five minutes this morning, then I spent about an hour tonight with a Bright Boy rail cleaner to remove the Dullcoat from the railheads.

Unfortunately, I’ve noticed when running my engine that the SMAIL motors aren’t powering the frogs reliably. Frustratingly, I keep getting dead frogs that will only work again after power-cycling the entire layout a few times.

I will need to think about my next steps toward fixing this issue. I’ve read that the SPDT switches in Tortoise/SMAIL machines are spotty, leading some modelers to use a separate frog juicing system like the one offered by Tam Valley. Maybe I will do the same.

Weathering and Some Planning

Using a black acrylic wash, I weathered the well of the turntable and the edging stones on the station platform:

I might repaint the white edge along the platform, but I’m undecided at this point. The stones themselves are lighter now, so the edge might be overkill. Either way, I will still be hitting everything with some weathering chalks eventually; these are just “sub-weathering” washes to provide a bit of grime and depth.

I also did some thinking about how to simulate traffic coming into LSR’s station. Ideally, engines will be able to come into the station facing forward, then leave again after turning around on the turntable. They would then be able to return again facing forward. To accomplish this without removing engines and rolling stock from the track (which requires the sometimes frustrating task of re-railing), I considered using removable cassettes which I would manually have to flip around. However, I feel that a second module with a reversing loop would be simpler and more immersive. it would consist of a bit of scenic track which enters a tunnel. Once through the tunnel, a semi-hidden loop turns the train around and sends it back toward the station.

Such a module would look something like this:

LSR Extension

This version would allow me to swap between two trains. A simpler version would omit the two turnouts on the loop. I’m really leaning toward the latter, because it would be cheaper and easier to run. In fact, if I did it right, the entire loop would be automated, consisting of a single wye turnout.

I should briefly note that a reverse loop isn’t simple, electronically speaking. The loop itself would need to be completely isolated from the turnout, and there would need to be an automatic reverse module to switch the polarity of the tracks before the train hit the end of the loop. For this, I’m leaning toward the PSX-AR, which can automatically switch the turnout when the train approaches it from the frog-end. This mean’s I wouldn’t have to manually control the hidden turnout, and I could focus on preparing the switches at the station for the incoming train.

If I wanted to get really fancy, I could add a second reversing module with a sensor near the station, and program a delay. That way, a train could pass back and forth on the layout (without turning the engine around at the station), and I wouldn’t even have to touch the throttle. This would be a neat feature for when it comes time to bring Little Snoring to the annual Northwestern Vermont Model Railroad Association expo. This past year, my favorite layout was a small point-to-point logging railroad which ran back and forth automatically.

More on this later. I want to establish my current module a bit more before thinking too much about expanding. It is exciting to consider these long-term goals, though, especially when I’m working on some of the more tedious aspects of modeling.