Cal’s been in touch again – he’s been kind enough to answer some of the questions that were posted on his 4×8 HO train layouts:
“It’s DC. I’m not ready to take that step yet.
But I designed the track so I can run 2 trains at the same time and I can run a locomotive in the yard all at once. I have a controller with 2 cabs.
As far as the switchboard goes, I made it up as I went along. First I got a piece of plexiglass that o thought would be big enough for the track schematic. Then I built a box with a slant on it for ease of access to the switches. I then printed out a track schematic that I drew on my computer and I taped it to my plexiglass in mirror image.
Then I put pin stripe tape down using my template as my guide. Carefully cutting the tape etc to achieve my blocks in my track. Then I spray painted the back side (the taped side) and peeled away the tape as needed for color change. I.e. Red, Yellow and black.
Then flip it over to the correct side and the panel is all nice and shiney and terrific. Then I carefully drilled holes for the switches I bought from Model Train Stuff on line.
Be careful drilling the holes. You need to drill them very very slow or the panel will crack and become useless. It took me 4 times to finally get it right. I went through 3 switchboard plexiglass by either breaking them or used the wrong paint. After trial and error I finally got it right. The fourth time was the charm.
I wired the track in blocks. I used one negative feed for the entire layout. Then I used a positive feed from the transformer to the switch then to the track. (Block). That way I have better power for the entire layout and I can switch on and off sections of track when I see an imminent collision getting ready to happen. I wired the turnout switches the same way and I just used the atlas switches that come with the turnouts.
I wired them per the instructions and before that was the hard part. I used a Dremil tool to cut out the squares needed for the switch boxes. I slightly made them a hair smaller than the boxes so they would pressure fit into the plexiglas. Then I glued them from the back side with CA glue to insure them not popping out.
I used black tape to trim around the switch boxes to keep it looking a bit better than leaving the raggedy edges of the plexiglass on view. It’s not the best solution but it’s the First control panel I ever made. I’m not savvy enough to build one with red and green LED’s yet but maybe someday I will and replace the one I have now with it. But that’s on the back burner. No hurry. At all.
In the next few days, I’m going to do another walk through video and really get into detail with my commentary. I’m new at this video thing and i wasn’t sure how people would receive my video. But I am getting a lot of positive feedback, so I’ve decided to do another update.
Alastair has really helped me with his blogs, videos, pictures, and what not. I really enjoy reading his emails every day because I have received lots of valuable information that has helped me build this layout. This layout is about my life. All the things that are dear to me, places I’ve been, favorite shows, movies etc. I will have my family and friends all throughout the Layout.
Get this. My mom is 82 and she likes the layout so much, she reserved a spot in my BOOT HILL CEMETERY to put a vial of her ashes in a plot she picked out when she leaves this earth. Lol.
I’ve never dreamed of burying someone on my layout. Lol. Let alone my own mother. But I think it’s a cool idea.
Building this railroad has been a long wait. I’m 61 and have been yearning to build one for decades. I had to wait too the kids grew up and moved out before I had the time and the space to build one. Finally the day arrived. In mid November of last year, I got the urge. I watched tons of YouTube videos and learned a heck of a lot.
Anyway. I hope I’ve answered your question.
Take care and happy railroading.
Thanks so much
A huge thanks to Cal. And it’s another example that proves bagging some space of your own and just starting, is the only way your layout will ever happen…
That’s all this time folks. Please do keep ’em coming.