To Allan "Need Another Locomotive" Gartner's Clinchfield-inspired

A Knoxville, TN area HO Model Railroad



Listen to your wife. "Go play with Allan's Trains!"

About the Kudzu & Western

April 09, 2019

I have retired to Maryville, TN near Knoxville. The new layout is being built in the 49' x 16'6" room over the garage. Like my last model railroad, I will be trying new thngs that you probably have never seen done before.

The layout will be a folded loop capable of continuous running when viewed by guests. For operating sessions, there is a wye in the middle of the loop that will allow trains to be served by a yard that will effectively will be two terminating yards.

So that I don't have to lay on my back under the layout, all the wiring will be done from the front via hinge-down smoked Plexiglas facia. This will also allow me to store things under the layout without having to move them.

Further, to avoid having to get under they layout, there will be no switch machines. It gets better, there will be no ground throws!

Faster construction doesn't mean cheaper. For example, using IDC's (Insulation Displacement Connectors, also called "suitcase connectors") will be faster at connecting feeders to buses than soldering them, but cost more than using solder. I'm also thinking about using terminal strips to connect feeders to buses. They cost money, too.

I'll be using Peco Electrofrog turnouts with the sprung throwbars. I'll just change the turnout position by flicking the the points with my finger. With no switch machines or ground throws, I need a way to power route frogs. I will be using Frog Juicers. They cost about the same as a Tortoise, but don't require access under the layout. Since I had Tortoises that I sold, once again my construction technique will be faster, but not cheaper.

Ah, but in one way, it will be cheaper and so much faster. That is, there will be no control panels. Control panels traditionally consume about half the time it takes to wire a layout. When I've been in clubs, that's all I did was wire. As most model railroaders aren't good at wiring, I often worked alone.

As I'm contemplating signaling, I need a way for the system to know the position of the mainline turnouts. I'm hoping to use optical sensors on the throwbars. When I start laying track, I will test that this will work.

For speedy construction, the layout will be one level instead of the four levels of the old railroad. Another reason is that the room has slanted ceilings. Trying to go multilevel would drastically narrow the railroad. I don't have a set timeline for finishing, but surely it will be faster than the 14 years of the previous layout.

With all the facia panels being hinged-down, the benchwork will be octogon shaped for the turn around loops. The smoked Plexiglas hinged-down facia will allow viewing of status lights without having to drill the facia for all of them as well as label them - another speed booster.

Yes, this will be a long, narrow layout. The middle of the "E", shown above, will contain the yard. The top and bottom of the "E" will run down the two walls. (The west side is shown started in the far left.)

The benchwork is shaped like the letter "E". The yard will be located on the middle leg of the "E". The turn around loop areat the ends of the "E" and shown in the foreground on both sides. Next step is to install 302 risers that will support the plywood table top.

Another view facing north showing the end of the penisula.

The north wall were the west and east wings are joined to the penisula. The penisula will contain a yard that will act as both ends of the railroad.

Stay tuned for more. In the meantime, check out the original High & Xiety that I built in Texas.


Be sure to take this little picture tour of  Clinchfield Country!



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