I’ll spare you all the other model railway things I’ve been doing since my last post, but suffice it to say that work on the layout itself has been sparing for the best part of 2019.
Well, that changed this November when I decided to move from dead rail to powered track. While I really enjoy how quickly laying track can go when there’s no need to add feeders and gaps, etc, I have long been frustrated with the work required to add the battery and electronics to my locomotives. There’s not a lot of guidance online, the cost adds up quickly, and I just got tired of not seeming to make progress. And I realized that everyone I know who applies graphite to their rail seems to have no issues with power pickup.
So the three layout sections are one by one ending up on their sides on my workbench (one of the benefits of lightweight construction) while I planned the routing of the bus underneath and placement of the feeders. It was much easier to do than originally feared.
Where I was not spiking down new rail (and thus able to solder a feeder wire to the underside), I used phosphor bronze wire for the feeders. I would choose a tie location, drill through the tie plate hole, homasote, and foam, and scratch off the paint on the base of the rail so that I could tin it.
The phosphor bronze then got a “spike” bent into the tip so that it was essentially indistinguishable from the actual rail spikes holding the rail in place. A quick tinning of both ends followed, then push through the hole until the spike was against the rail. Finish off with a touch of the soldering iron. Easy!
Underneath the layout I wrapped the end of the wire with a feeder, quickly soldered them together, and then joined the feeder wire to the bus with a 3M Scotchlok connector.
I’ve been taking the time as well to spike all the ties that were skipped originally. It is still as relaxing an exercise as the first time, even if I’ve noticed my eyesight is not quite what it was even a year or two ago. I had to flood the area with lights and, as is the norm nowadays, use the Optivisor.
Next up, optimizing turnout construction.