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Granite Gorge & Northern

262896 Views 827 Replies 76 Participants Last post by  cfurnari
This will be my first model railroad. I did put an HO oval on a piece of 4x8 once when my children were young that the Christmas tree centered in, but I considered that a toy train. My, how things have changed in the last 30 + years.

When I was a child, my father started but never completed the Central Midland. I wanted the GG&N. He won the discussion. I made up my mind 47 years ago that I would build one someday. That day has come. It is probably too much for a first timer, but this what I want. We will see.

I spent the first 2 months reading all I could while redesigning the original Atlas plan. This includes 22 minimum radius, less than 3% grades, semi-portable, reduced busy look, DCC, and completely automated computer contol.

I am not into operations, so the design is to display and let 'em run. Ultimately, I hope to have 2 trains, running in opposite directions, on each mainline and a local freight interspersing between both mainlines. With the mountain area covering half the mainlines, it should be quite fascinating to watch. With three passing tracks and computer control I think it can be possible.

I started construction 2 months ago. Please look at the pictures and give your experienced opinions. I may have gone too far already to correct any serious problems. The track is not tested and no scenery is done yet. This is my last chance to fix a poor plan.

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Im by far any kind of expert Jerry, just getting back into this like you. Just wanted to say welcome to the forum, where in TX are you? Have you decided on a DCC system yet? Interesting layout, I'll let the more experienced comment on it, but it looks like you did some nice benchwork already.
This is my first attempt. I was never into model railroading before, but my dad did let me run a train once in awhile when I was little. Thank you, San Antonio, Digitrax SuperChief
Welcome to the forum. You look to be off to a great start cause the framework looks great.
Here are some additional pictures.

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Looks like you've got it well under control. Great work.
Some more pictures. It looks a lot better spread out a little than what I found on the internet. Original design was 5x9 and I went to 6x11. It takes up a lot of room though.

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Welcome to the forum!

Wow ... that's an ambitious undertaking, and one unlike most of what we've seen here ... in a fun/challenging way ...

1. A folding layout, and a big one at that. Couple of quesitons here (mostly out of curiosity) ...

I assume you have to remove (unbolt) all of the legs for the stowed fold?

You'll have to run power feeders to both sides of the track ... that's the easy part. But, have you thought through rail alignment when the table is unfolded and setup? There's typically not too much play/slop in a piano hinge, however, with changes in humidity and thermal expansion, you might run into some issues with improper rail alignment at the juncture ... it doesn't take much to throw a train car off the track.

2. I like the "cut and stretch" plywood tabletop method you're using. We've only had a few of those here on our forum, however, I think the method offers lots of merits, with a lot less frustration and mess than traditional buildup (foam, plaster, etc.)

3. I strongly suggest you put some sort of threaded adjustable foot at the bottom of each leg. Floors are never really level/planar. If each leg has an adjustable range of say +/- 1/2", I think you'll save yourself aggravation in the long run. Several guys here have used T-threaded nuts fit into a hole drilled into a solid block ... you could easily add something like this to yours ...

Good luck, and do keep us posted!

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1 Yes, the legs are removed. There have not yet appeared any alignment issues. My wife will only let me use the living room for a day or 2 at a time, so this has been set up and taken down many times already. I used hard track at the fold line, cutting parallel to the tie and the bridge assemblies are one piece bolted to an aluminum plate that anchors into aluminum beds. I have a lathe and mill in the make these sort of things. These joints and removable spans also serve as blocks. 32 blocks in all. I don't have a train yet, but I have tested the track with an Athern caboose which I throw as fast as I can to test. It is my only car and it will derail easily if things aren't right.
2 Cookie cutter bench work is heavy but grade changes are easier with less vertical kink problems.
3 For some reason our living room floor is about the only thing straight and level in the whole house.

I have since added 2 fold and tuck electronics panels within the bench work near the terminal strips. I am shutting down construction for the holidays. However, I will set up the O gauge around the tree so I can have my train fix.
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Thanks, Jerry ... sounds like you have things in capable hands!

Love the trestles, and how neat your wiring is under the table. Keep posting updates.....would love to see more progression.

Jerry.....very nice progress on your layout. Nice to see a fellow Texan's work.
Dude, beautiful benchwork.

Next time you have it out, could you take a close up pic of the " 2 fold and tuck electronics panels within the bench work" for me. I cant quite visualise what they are. thanks!
Coming together wonderfully, Jerry ... nice work!

Before you fold it, use a razor saw to cut the track. That way you do not need to use little stub track and joiners. I learned this trick from a train show guy that builds modules.

I have a 4x6 HO board that I use at the local flea market. It breaks down into four, 2x3 sections to fit in my car. I used the razor saw method. Works great!
There are no track joiners at the fold line. A slight gap serves a block boundry. The bridges are seperate blocks as well so no joiners at the ends of the spans as well. Low speed thru max speed, both forward and backwards with 85' cars, unspeed matched AB units and lastly a 4-8-4 with 16 wheel tender have never produce a derail at any of these locations. I did use a razor saw but still had to increase the gap for proper clearance for expansion etc.
Did you need a block boundary at the fold, or could you have run a jumper wire underneath from one side to the other ... with the wire spring-coiled or such to provide the needed flex?

Just curious as to why you chose one method over the other.

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