Well, I've been working on the railroad....
Finally broke down and decided to replace all the Aristo joiners
with SplitJaw clamps. What a difference. When removing all the old
joiners, was surprised how much dirt and grit get in them. Not
really surprising when you consider that the screws only hold one
side of the joiner to the rail.
The inner loop is now all 100% split jaws.
I've also converted all 7 existing turnouts to air power and DCC
control. So nice to be able to throw a turnout from across the yard.
I've also figured out how to mount the Kadee uncoupling magnets
easily. I use a router set to a specific depth (determined by using
the Kadee gauge) and in about 45 seconds, I mill 3 ties down, and
then glue the magnet from the backside.
I've also found that the uncoupling pin height is important. I have
found that truck mount couplers allow the couplers to lift and drop.
this is due to the coupler tang acting as a lever on the truck
So, I changed to body mount couplers, now the couplers are fixed in
height perfectly and cannot vary. The added bonus is that the trip
pin can now be set exactly, whereas before, I had to have more
clearance due to the variation in coupler position.
So now, I can run 20 car trains through my triple S curve, and back
the train through switches, and the couplers work fine, and uncouple
All in all, progress.
I've documented most of this on my web site www.elmassian.com
Updates to my site
I've updated my web site.
Tips on Aristo wide radius switches
A beginners FAQ section
Re: Update on Helix
Thanks Stefan, it's hard getting yet another garden railways group
started. Am trying to post more often.
I intend the loop for down travel only. I might find though that
long trains will bunch up and derail. I did run a single F unit up
it just to see what happened. Seems to be about 5% or more grade,
will calculate it.
Another loop would make the clearance between the tracks too small
for the locos, need about 10" minimum plus the thickness of the
structure that will completely support the track.
For continuous running, since I run DCC, I might crank up the back
emf setting so that the train will run at constant speed uphill or
down, it can be done.
This is a shortcut to allow continuous running of shorter trains
while being able to see the whole train from the back yard.
It's the only non 14' diameter track in the outer loop. Eventually,
the track will go past this part, and then go out to the front yard,
where I can use 14' diameter to get it back to the other end of the
--- In sandiegogardenrailways@..., "Stefan Gerris"
especially for the helix ;-). Clearances seem to be just withinlimits,
great!is a bit
steep if you intend to use it "uphill" as well. If you add theincreased
drag from the tight curve, it might be a bit much for an averageengine
with an average length train (what's average in your case?). Haveyou
tried this? Do you have room (heigth) for an additional loop? Ormaybe
elevate the stretch of track that is now on the floor in order toflatten
out the helix...? )?
Maybe you'll have to fit a speedbump at the bottom to preventspeeding =P
Re: Update on Helix
Stefan Gerris <s.gerris@...>
Nice to see come activity on this list again!
Looking at the pictures, one would almost think the space was created
especially for the helix ;-). Clearances seem to be just within limits,
What I'm a bit worried about is the grade. It looks to me like it is a bit
steep if you intend to use it "uphill" as well. If you add the increased
drag from the tight curve, it might be a bit much for an average engine
with an average length train (what's average in your case?). Have you
tried this? Do you have room (heigth) for an additional loop? Or maybe
elevate the stretch of track that is now on the floor in order to flatten
out the helix...
But than again, maybe the picture is giving me a completely wrong
impression about the grade. Have you measured it (how much is it ;-? )?
Maybe you'll have to fit a speedbump at the bottom to prevent speeding =P
Update on Helix
Well, did my 3rd mockup on the helix.
The last picture show the rail sections joined with Split Jaw
clamps. Obviously more sturdy than the stock Aristo SS joiners. (and
I rolled several long cars down the helix, looks like it might work.
And I ran a USAT F unit down, and back up under it's own power.
The diameter is 88.5 inches, and the clearance from the outer rail
to anything is 4.5 inches. That gives enough clearance for my
longest cars. The overhang king seems to be an Aristo heavyweight
passenger car, with the steps hanging down, it's those steps at the
very beginning of the car, and hanging out from the sides of the car.
My tallest cars are the USAT container cars, but they don't overhang
the most, because the car is a lot longer than the double stacked
Layout progress, tunnelling!
I've updated my web site www.elmassian.com to show the latest progress,
a tunnel to extend the outer loop.
I posted a picture in the photos section. It's a plan for 24 by 36
foot layout in a room, going for the maximum radius possible.
The layout can function as 2 independent loops and also as a
single "twice around" layout. The minimum radius is 6.25 foot and the
outer loop is 7 foot.
Just for fun. If you are planning a layout, I'd be happy to make up a
few for you with RR-Track, it's fun.
Updates to my garden railroad.
I've added more track - Aristocraft stainless steel, and posted more
pictures on my web site: www.elmassian.com
Go to the trains page, then a sub menu will appear "building my
Queen Mary Train show
I'll be driving up one of the weekend days, and may have room for
one or two people.
I live just off 5 and poinsettia.
Web site conversion complete
I've completed my new web site, incorporating all the original
stuff, and have expanded the plants section, with many pictures.
Comments are welcome.
Updated web site.
I went to the model train expo at the Queen Mary last weekend.
Pretty nice show, and it was dominated by G scale. There were a
number of operating layouts, although none were G scale!
Aristo had a small booth, and showed a prototype of the new E8.
Go to my web site, www.elmassian.com, then select the train page,
and then g scale photos.
While you are there, browse the site, I've added a number of
pictures and more pages.
where to buy crusher fines in san diego?
I live in north coastal San Diego.
Anyone know where to buy crusher fines?
I've laid my track on some bark that is in my planter areas, and
think I'll try to remove the bark under the track and put crusher
fines down. I think it may be stable enough, and level the track by
manually moving the track and adding or subrtracting the amount of
New pictures on my site: www.elmassian.com
Welcome N6RY !
Welcome! We need to get this group on it's feet. I'm guessing you are
a ham, and so am I! N6RGZ.
I have a web site showing some of the progress on my garden railway.
Go to www.elmassian.com.
I'd also like to get the Garden Railway community into some forum,
there is so little discussion, and there seem to be a lot of us!
One question I have is does anyone know which "stacks" should be used
on my ATSF F3's (USA trains)?
They came with 2 sets of exhaust stacks, short ones and long ones.
Also, I'm running SS rail and DCC and I'm a real happy camper. I'm
using NCE equipment, and happy with the choice.
I'm also available to help others, especially in the electronics
side, I've found DCC to be very easy, and can help install decoders.
Garden RR Progress - First loop of track
I got my final approval from the homeowners association for my
First order of business, a simple loop around the back yard, sort of
a square, one side is an s curve on the edge of the patio (1 foot
straight between curves) the other 2 sides are in planters.
I am so happy I left the plants in 1 gal pots in the ground. 4
plants were in the right of way, and I merely pulled them out of the
ground. I shoved the cedar bark away from their new homes, and used
a post hole digger to make new holes, put the soil in the old holes,
covered up with bark again.
I have all stainless Aristo, except I need some 1 foot sections.
Used some old Aristo brass, connects fine.
I just laid out the sections and screwed it together. No track
planning software, nothing.
Took out the NCE system I put together, 2 alligator clips on the
track and away we went.
Garden railroad progress - "mobile plants".
My intention is to have a small loop around the grass in the back
yard. The part that is not the patio is a planter that varies from 2
to 4 feet in width. I went to the local Walter Andersen nursery (in
Poway, CA) and picked up a number of cypress, pine and other plants
grown for garden railways. I transplanted them to 1 gallon pots and
put them in holes in the ground, and used cedar bark a mulch between
them. This way, as I continue to lay out the track, I can move
plants as needed. If a plant dies, or becomes too big, then I can
replace it easily. As the railroad gets more "set" then I can plant
things right in the soil. Keeping them in 1 gallon pots makes it so
I can't put them too close together.
Garden railroad progress.
Well, maybe I'll use this as a blog...
I had my landscaping updated at my house. The original landscaping
was designed to accomodate a garden railroad, but there were still a
few tweaks needed. I'll list up some of these things here in hopes
it may help others avoid mistakes.
One part of the backyard is a patio that has an oval grassy area
next to it. The idea was to put the train track on the edge of the
patio around the grass. There was a nicely poured contour S curve of
5 foot radius. WRONG! I had the 2 curves back to back. So I had the
concrete extended to be 2 curves with a straight section between
them. S curves with no straight in between will literally throw the
trains off the track. I'm intending to use the long USA trains
streamliner cars, so this was a necessary event. I don't have a lot
of room in the backyard, so this was as tight as I dared.
Tsunami decoder info
There was a question from a member on the audio output on the
Soundtraxx Tsunami decoder scheduled for late summer.
The audio output will be one full watt, and that will be at 8 ohms
impedence. I think that will be enough for G scale.
It might be fun to think about a subwoofer in a G scale unit, or make
the tender in a steamer a sealed enclosure with a port, like home
speakers, would be fun to have some bass also!
Misc. neat stuff from the Queen MAry show.
Found a pair of pliers cut out to reach over the railheads and
tighten rail joiners, I think they were $10 or $15 at the show...
http://www.modelrailroadtools.com ... $20 on the web site. Very neat.
Great Big Trains http://www.gbtrain.com sells ball bearing kits for
rolling stock, including the USA Trains extruded passenger cars and
the new Aristo 4 wheel diesel motor truck with open face bearings.
I'm going to outfit my USA trains passenger cars, they do not roll
very well, and are heavy to boot. They have a way to preserve the
electrical pickup, by going through the ball bearing itself. The kits
look easy to install yourself, but if you are shy about drilling your
sideframes out to fit the bearings, you send them the sideframes, and
they only charge 50 cents a hole.. Great.
Inexpensive bridges for outside.
I met the people at Econobridge: http://www.econobridge.net (but
seems the site is under construction) sales@... seems to
A series of inexpensive bridges, basically custom built to your
order. They are in Visalia, CA at 559-635-2889.
The bridges are made from square oak with "zigzags" bracing the sides
made of round oak.
They are not real fancy looking, not a lot of extra detail, but solid
construction, brass hardware, and they will stain or paint to suit.
They come in single, double, and triple track, and by changing the
height of the "Zig zag" bracing, your trains either ride inside or on
top of the structure, and if the bracing is half height, it's sort of
a "deck girder"... sorry I don't know all the right terms!
The very cool thing is that you get them up to 12 foot long straight
or curved. It's $20 per foot straight, and $30 per foot curved.
That's really inexpensive. They also make them in O scale.
I posted their "shiny sheet" in the photos section, until they get
the web site up.
Air powered turnout control.
At the Queen Mary show, I visited the California & ORegon Coast
Railway booth. http://www.cocry.com
I was interested in switch machines that can take outdoor weather.
The test loop outside my house has shown that all kinds of bugs like
to live in the electric "motor" of my switch machines, and corrosion
is a problem.
They have a line of "air motors" in the E-Z Motion Control line.
Basically a little plunger that easily screws on to the 2 ties either
side of the throwbar. I played with them, they have a little toggle
switch that applies air for one direction, and the air motor
apparently has a return spring inside for the other direction (no air
pressure)... worked very nicely, and looks more prototypical.
There is a small plastic housing that covers the motor so you are not
looking at a shiny brass cylinder. The deal is that it is way smaller
than an electric switch machine. You use small diameter tubing to run
the air, just one line to the motor. They even have the tubing in
So what does a guy like me do who has DCC? Well, they also make
electric solenoid valves that work from 9-14 or 15-24 vdc. I'll be
trying this stuff out real soon, and will publish the circuit that I
use for the DCC accessory controller. They will even "manifold" the
valves together, so that keeps everything neat and tidy. You can run
the tubing hundreds of feet.
Oh, if you buy the air motors 12 at a time, they are around $10 each.
The electric solenoids are about $38 each.