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Grampa Denny's Trains

This web site will chronical my work on building a HO model train set in my basement.

Above is little B & O Railroad engine runs good but doesn't pull much weight.

Above are an assortment of engines that I've collected over the years.

Above is a set I purchased a few years ago. The 2nd engine isn't a dummy, it's an actual helper engine.

Above is a U P steam engine. I haven't been able to get it to run yet. Likely needs cleaning and oiling.

Above shows the area of my basement where the train set will be built. Notice that the walls have been waterproofed with Drylok in a gray shade. The width of the wall seen here is 10 foot.

Above is the plan. 7 x 10 foot. A bit extensive at first look. You'll notice that elevation is not indicated thus you can't get a good idea of what crosses where, but there will be bridges and at least 2 tunnels.

Above shows the two frame pieces. The 7 X 10 foot layout was split into 2 pieces in case it had to be moved. Notice there is a frame to each 5 X 7 foot piece and a couple internal braces. Plywood only comes in 4 X 8 sheets so a brace at the 4 foot point had to be installed. The two frame pieces will be connected with 4 lag bolts - 3.5 inches long.

Above is the base - almost complete. The base is actually two 5 X 7 foot frames, attached with lag bolts. I've used 1/4 inch plywood which is thick enough to hold most anything with the proper braces, but thin enough to be formed if needed for inclines. Holes were pre-drilled in each area of the 2 X 4 framing pieces so future wires could be passed through.

Above is the table, now complete on March 12, 2008. Grid lines were drawn in both directions, 1 foot segments, so the plan can be easily transfered. The Steam Engine and tender were placed on the table for perspective.

Above was taken as I took a needed break on March 16, 2008. Track is being layed in to determine exact placement. The next step will be to pencil in the exact placement, remove the track and install cork roadbed, then the track back on top of that. A straight edge ruler will be used to make sure all track is straight.

Above are the two main lines of the track fully layed out on the table. The remaining two loops, bridges, tunnels and siding track will be placed after the two main lines are permanently put down.

Above is a close-up of how the two main lines were layed out. As they were put down, the tacks were installed to hold the track in place. Then a sharp tipped magic marker was used for the outside of the rails and a dot at the center - about every other tie. Once removed, the center dots will serve as a guide where the cork will be placed. Inside curves are 18" radius and outside curves are 22"radius.

Above is a picture of the roadbed work in progress. The roadbed is cork, produced by Model Power or Midwest Products. The cork is specifically made for model railroad roadbeds and gives the impression of a real roadbed. It comes partially sliced at a slant down the middle so when split, gives a dimension to the side of the roadbed. I prefer Midwest Products because its split better but Model Power is about half the cost. Notice that once split, each piece is layed separately, with the ends never lining up. This gets rid of the appearance of it being a scale model and blends everything in nicely. I use Elmer's construction glue and hand tacks to hold everything in place.

Above is a finished roadbed piece of the layout with track layed on top. Almost looks like a real railroad line except you can see the plywood around the roadbed.

Above shows a shot of the two main lines of the track finished on April 28, 2008.

Above shows the control panel attached to the side with hinges and supported by two outer legs. The switches and control units will be screwed into the wood, with holes drilled so the wiring is hidden underneath.

Above shows the underneath side of the board containing all the controls. At first it appears that you may have to have a PHD in electrical engineering to wire the thing, but as it turns out, its not all that hard. To the left you see two distribution bars for the power to the switches. Negative attached to one bar and positive to the other. Makes it much simplier to wire.

Above shows the bridge/mountain/tunnel project started May 1, 2008. Notice the blocks of wood holding up the track. These portions will either be the track running along a ridgeline or will be a mountain with the tunnel through it.

Layout showing both completed reversing loops. Still have the siding tracks to install.

Above shows one of the scenes with 3 trains in view.

Above is another scene with a steam engine coming one direction and the tail end of a different train moving away.

Nothing is ever quite like you plan. I had to remove the 2 reverse loops because the incline and decline angles were too great for the engines and cars to make. After disconnecting the two, i created one raised loop across the board. Gives more dimension to the layout. I installed a reversing section down the center of the layout (from top right to bottom left).

The following 3 pictures are after the modification shown above.

Above is the final (and I mean final) layout as of September 20, 2008. Had to move some switches because of the reversing loop, added another side track to store cars and will possibly extend that to include the roundhouse section for locomotive storage. As it turns out, there are 7 separate sections of powered track that can be turned on and off, and 13 switches. All have been wired for automatic use from the control table. The pictures below show the train in full operation on the new, expanded (and final) layout.

The following 3 pictures show the newest layout with trains running. I'd post video, but the owner of the web site prohibits any type of videos.

I'll be adding pictures and notes as the project advances. Stay tuned......

Copyright 2008 Dennis E Allen
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