UPDATE #27 4/3/11

It seemed like a long time ago since I started the rebuild on the layout, but the mainline and upper level are now done. Other then a few pieces I re-used, the layout has been totally rebuilt.

I actually completed the track work a few weeks ago. I have been running trains here and there to give it a shake-down before we start up operating sessions again. I have only a few small issues that have surfaced. The 2.2% grade poses challenges to the loaded coal train I run. I can't run it up the hill without a 4th unit making it a little more prototypical. I wanted to have assigned helpers for the climb up Mullan Pass and now most heavy west bounds will have to use them.

Gary has been over a couple of times lately and we have been working on the fascia mostly. We had a long day last week and got all the pieces cut I would need for the next week. I have been installing them since then and most of it is complete.

I have worked on the wiring quite a bit lately too and have competed all but one district at this point. I ran a heavier gauge wire to Helena/Spokane staging as there are close to 130 pieces of track there. I have also been wiring up the Digitrax DS-64's which allow any operator to throw a switch with their throttle. I should be getting two more later this week which should also complete the mainline and siding switches. This will be a key to op-sessions.

I am looking forward to the coming months as many projects will be wrapping up. Operating sessions can begin again and work on scenery can finally start.

Here is an overview shot of the layout.

Overview #2

Overview #3

This is Greenhorn Creek Trestle. I have the track laid and running. I will add the trestle bents and girders at a later time.

Austin Creek Trestle in and ready for trestle bents and girders.

Skyline siding is installed and working.

This is the west end of the staging yard. I was able to cut a slot in the backdrop and curve it in behind the staging yard. I used the top portion to trim out the front of the upper level.

This is the east end of the staging yard which is Yardley in Spokane. I found two water tanks that closely resemble the former NP tanks that used to stand there.

BNSF loaded coal rounding the corner at Austin siding.

BNSF coal waiting at west Austin.