Tunnel Roofs, Castings and Track

Riverside 2371

Just a brief update: For the last month or so I’ve been working on the Subway roof that carries the Rapid/Shinkansen tracks along the front of the Riverside Station scene, above the subway tracks at the front of the table. That’s now been “finished” (WS inclines glued where needed, plaster and roadbed applied over that, all painted) and it’s supporting the tracks quite nicely. The decision to use 2mm sheet styrene turned out to be a good one. The track here is a bit hard to visualize (and some of it is missing in the above photo), see the track plan for a diagram.

Finished isn’t quite the right word. A coat of green paint isn’t scenery. I’m planning to eventually go back and add details (like “grass”, fences, shrubs, catenary poles and maybe wires, etc). But that will likely be after I finish the Riverside Station and go back and do more work on the Urban Station (which has been largely ignored since the spring).

The outer loop track has also been fully cleaned, and the unijoiners checked for excessive resistance with my multimeter (which indicates a bent/worn unijoiner that’s not making good contact) and insulating joiners and track feeders installed to break it up into eight electrical blocks for debugging and perhaps future addition of occupancy detectors. The feeders are all connected to terminal strips below the table, and it just remains to cross-connect those to the DC/DCC power bus #3 and #4, and then I’ll be able to run either DC or DCC trains around both tracks of the outer loop. I expect to have that done this weekend, and maybe have a video of some trains running before next weekend.

I even have one train converted to DCC. I’ve been trying to do a second, but it’s proving as much of a pain as the first was; Kato’s “DCC Friendly” trains are anything but. I’m glad I kept the option for DC running, as it’s going to be a long time before my fleet joins the digital age.

I’ve also been working on casting retaining walls out of plaster. I now have two done, visible to the left below the houses in the photo above. Now that I know what I’m doing, I’m going to make similar walls with a slight downslope, to run alongside the descending tracks of the Riverside Station (white foam inclines in the photo above).

Along with that, the large chunk of foam behind those walls was painted green, except for the interior walls facing the subway tunnel, which got the light tan “concrete” color I’ve been using for the interior of the tunnel. And when that dried, the foam was glued in place. One section of the 2mm styrene roof over that tunnel was also completed (i.e., had roadbed glued to it, and everything painted) although I still need to do the piece that goes above the tunnel mouth where the subway tracks come out to cross the river. That’s probably the next bit of scenery I’m working on.

I’m getting close to actually being able to start work on the Riverside Station itself, the last major roadblock to getting the commuter line tracks operational. Unfortunately, this comes several months later than I’d planned, so I’ve clearly lost all hope of completing, much less winning, the JNS Forum Station Contest (which ends in five days).

And I tracked down my “problem” with the DCC Command Station resetting. What it was actually doing was purging the idle locomotives (rather more aggressively than the manual would lead you to believe it would do), which breaks their association with a throttle, allowing another throttle to take control of them if desired. However, this caused the wireless throttle to not be able to control them if I stopped the locomotive for any reason. There’s actually a set of keypresses you can do on the throttle to recover from that (it keeps a “stack” of recently used addresses and you can tell it to re-acquire the last one), but since I have few enough throttles to manage them manually, I just set the configuration option that disables purging. Problem solved, or at least it seems that way. I’ll know for sure once I start running trains for real.

Other website changes:
Added some photos to the Scenery photo album for the above work (these also appear on the pages linked above).