The D&RGW in 0n3

Discussion in 'Layout Progress' started by PhilH, 9 February 2019.

  1. PhilH

    PhilH Western Thunderer

    This is my first post on this forum, so something of a try-out to test the interest.


    The story of this layout probably begins with the acquisition of an 0n3 scale loco. I had previously dabbled in American 0 Scale (standard gauge) for about 30 years, running stock on friend’s layouts or the local Gauge 0 Guild’s test track. However my US prototype interest has always been more inclined to the Colorado narrow gauge and I decided to buy just one 0n3 loco (thanks to Ebay), which was duly mounted on a short piece of track and set in a display case. That was to have been that, but then I bought another loco, then another......! An additional factor in constructing this layout was a desire to use DCC sound with all the lights, bells, whistles, etc, associated with American locomotives.

    The recent past few years have been a particularly opportune time to start in 0n3 scale with the availability of reasonably priced die cast locos from Mountain Model Imports and ready to run rolling stock from San Juan Car Co and AMS. Also some of the Bachmann 0n30 locos are readily converted to 0n3.

    The space available for the layout comprised a room measuring just under 13 feet x 12 feet, less the area of a chimney breast, and with a fairly large window and (of course) a door. Into this space it was proposed to fit an end to end layout running from a hidden staging (fiddle) yard via a through station, with passing loop, sidings and a loco shed, to a terminus which would be constructed with mixed narrow gauge and standard gauge track. The layout was also to incorporate a continuous run and the obligatory timber trestle. To date the benchwork, trackwork (not yet ballasted) and wiring have been completed, together with operating turntables at each end.

    The track plan:

    Hidden Track.jpg

    Starting from the lowest level there is a five road staging yard with turntable connecting the end of three tracks. From the staging yard the line climbs at a gradient of 1 in 25 and then levels out to emerge from the hidden track and cross a timber trestle in front of the window opening at a gradient of approx 1 in 60.

    Visible Track.jpg

    The through station and sidings are on the level, but at the end of the passing loop the line splits, one track descending at 1 in 60 to join the hidden line from the staging yard and form the continuous circuit and the other track climbing at 1 in 30 and joining a standard gauge line as mixed gauge track to the top level terminus. The standard gauge heads in the direction of the doorway and could be extended to a future staging yard outside the room. The minimum radius on the 0n3 is 42” and on the mixed gauge 48”

    The basic idea for operating the layout is that trains run from end to end but with the option of extending the trip with a few turns round the continuous circuit in between.

    The layout does pack rather a lot of track in a limited space in contrast to the spacious stretched out layouts of prototype D&RGW stations. Also the scope for scenery is somewhat limited.
    Last edited: 9 February 2019
  2. Scale7JB

    Scale7JB Western Thunderer

    Oh yes! This looks good!

    Perhaps you could help, I was chatting about On3 and On30 the other day, and what the difference is? What actually is On3 compared to On30?

  3. PhilH

    PhilH Western Thunderer

    I think the best way to describe the difference is that On3 is true to scale 3ft gauge in US O Scale (which is actually 1/4" to the foot scale) so its 3/4" gauge, whereas On30 uses OO gauge track so its a compromise for 3ft gauge prototypes and is approximately 2'-6" or 30" gauge in 1/4" scale.
  4. Scale7JB

    Scale7JB Western Thunderer

    Thanks Phil!

    I thought it was something similar, but couldn't find anything online to confirm it. I didn't look too hard..

  5. PhilH

    PhilH Western Thunderer

    On to the woodwork:
    The baseboards comprise 3 main units including 8 separate sections all pinned, bolted or hinged together.

    The double-deck through station and staging yard unit is shown in cross section in the sketch below


    Legs are 2” square with 2” x 1” cross members supporting the three 2” x 1” longitudinals carrying the 13mm ply staging yard baseboard. The legs extend upwards to support the 2” x 1” timbers carrying the top baseboards – shown in blue. These have 3” x 1” side members and 2” x 1” cross members with 13mm ply on top. They are in two sections approx 5ft long, joined together with steel dowels and bolts and are not fixed to the supports but merely rest on top of them. The idea of splitting the top into two was so that they could be lifted off if required, such as when the point motors and wiring was done, but they are flippin heavy !

    Layout 1a.jpg

    Layout 1b.jpg

    Layout 2.jpg

    View of the staging yard. The back of the panel controlling the turnouts on the upper level is on the left, connected to the top baseboards by multi-pin plugs. Track supply goes up by the red and white wires on the right. The 2” x 1” laid flat between the supports for the top baseboards prevents them from dropping down when they are slid off the rear support. The two vertical rods mark the position of the Kadee magnets on the rear two tracks when cars parked in front obstruct the view .
  6. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    Nice trackwork. What's the gauge - P48 or OW5?
  7. PhilH

    PhilH Western Thunderer

    The largest ‘unit’ is an L shape with two levels on one leg and three levels at varying gradients on the other.

    Layout 11.jpg

    Bottom level track base complete and track laid. The train at left has just reached the top of the 1 in 25 gradient from the staging yard, the other is on the continuous circuit.

    Layout 12.jpg

    Looking the other way, the rear of the train is crossing what will be a stone retaining wall. The trackbed on the gradient up to the top terminus is in place.

    Layout 13a.jpg
    At this point I decided that the track laid on plywood and two 1/8” layers of cork was a little too noisy and changed the trackbed to plywood + Sundeala + one layer of cork.

    Layout 13b.jpg
    This was changed to MDF + Sundeala + cork for the terminus as the MDF would make a neater job of the hole for the turntable pit. I think the Sundeala probably does make some difference to the noise, but with the DCC sound on you don’t really notice the improvement.

    Layout 14.jpg

    Terminus baseboard is now complete with ties laid up the gradient for the mixed gauge track and turntable pit ‘excavated’.

    Layout 15.jpg

    The track in the foreground and most of the plain track is PSC (Precision Scale Co) flexitrack. The layout was designed on a CAD program and this was invaluable when cutting the plywood profiles on this section with three trackbases at varying gradients

    Layout 16.jpg

    Layout 17.jpg

    Layout 18.jpg

    Hinged doors allow access to the track under the terminus baseboard
  8. PhilH

    PhilH Western Thunderer

    The third major item is the trestle section across the window. I wanted this removable for possible future access to the window, but at 78” width between the other adjacent sections it would have been too large to suspend between the two and so it was made as a free standing structure. The actual trestle is some way in the future and at the moment there is just a temporary "bridge" across the gap.

    Layout 3.jpg

    The problem was that the space between the other two sections tapered out towards the window and if it had been made as one single unit it would have been impossible to get it out.

    Trestle Baseboard.jpg

    Therefore a small triangular section was provided at one end.

    Layout 4.jpg

    By removing this first and then rotating the unit it can then be removed.

    Trestle Baseboard A.jpg

    The triangular section is located by hinges with removable pins.

    Layout 5.jpg

    and the main unit by similar means in the back corners

    Layout 6.jpg

    and a turned steel bolt fitting into steel sockets at the remaining corner.

    Layout 7.jpg
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  9. PhilH

    PhilH Western Thunderer

    The last items to complete the baseboards are the two hinged flaps across the doorway.

    Layout 21.jpg

    Layout 22.jpg

    Track power is carried across through the hinges.

    Layout 23.jpg

    The drop ends are located by hinges with the pins removed.
    Also shown here is the steel U shaped rod which acts as a safety stop at the open track end.

    Layout 24.jpg

    The rod is automatically raised when the flap is lifted by a spring so it forms a barrier in the centre of the track.

    Layout 25.jpg
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  10. PhilH

    PhilH Western Thunderer

    I'm not familiar with OW5, but the On3 handlaid track is 0.75" gauge with a 0.048" flange gap at turnouts. Plain mixed gauge track (all handlaid) is 0.75" for the narrow gauge and 1.25" for the standard gauge. However the On3 wheels are to finer standards than the O Scale (standard gauge) so for the mixed gauge turnouts the narrow gauge is laid to 0.76" gauge and the standard gauge to 1.23" gauge with a flange gap of 0.053". It all works just fine (Honest ! :) )
    Standard gauge cars have NWSL wheelsets which are no problem but the standard gauge C48 2-8-0 shown on the left in the heading photo required the backs of the wheels skimming off to work through the pointwork.
    Last edited: 9 February 2019
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  11. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    OW5 is what the P48 guys refer to standard O scale track 32mm whereas P48 is 29.9mm.

    Do you also have the standard/narrow gauge barrier flat cars for switching standard gauge cars and vice versa?
  12. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    "OW5" as in it's "O" scale, but "Wide, 5 foot" - standard 32mm gauge being a tad overscale for 1:48th US outline. A funny reversal of the usual British difference where the standard track gauges are underscale, and the Proto standards are wider - 16.5mm-vs-18.83mm, for example.

    But hey - the more American O (the True "Dark Side"!!) on here, the better :drool: :D:D:D

    Welcome aboard, and a pretty awesome looking layout, too. :bowdown: :thumbs:
    Are your switches hand-spiked?
  13. PhilH

    PhilH Western Thunderer

    Thanks for the information. Yes, I do have an idler car but its still in unpainted brass as bought - another job on the list !
  14. PhilH

    PhilH Western Thunderer

    Thanks also for the information. Yes, the switches on the visible area of the layout are all hand spiked, I'll post some detail photos shortly.
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  15. PhilH

    PhilH Western Thunderer

    On to the track construction
    First the hidden track and some of the visible plain track is PSC flexitrack with code 100 rail. Points were custom made by Marcway to speed things up, as all the hidden track had to be laid before the baseboards could be completed. They are satisfactory in operation but I wouldn’t like to use them on any of the visible trackage.

    Before leaving the hidden track it may be of interest to describe the turntable at the end of the staging yard. There are two turntables on the layout, both very different in appearance and operation. The staging yard turntable is merely a flat disc whereas the other has a girder deck and pit. The only thing in common is that both are driven by means of rubber tap washers.

    Turntable 1.jpg

    This photo shows the table and the ends of the three tracks connected to it. On the far side is a foam rubber 'buffer stop'

    Turntable 2.jpg

    First a circular hole was cut in the staging yard baseboard. This produced a circular disc for the table which was pivotted on a central ball bearing set into a baseboard cross member, seen in the centre of the above photo. This photo also shows the two brass sprung plungers bearing on brass plates attached to the underside of the table which supply track power and automatically change polarity as the table revolves.

    Turntable 3.jpg

    The table actually rests on three wheels situated at 120 degrees apart (an idea I ‘nicked’ from another 0n3 layout – always worth being nosey when you visit someone else’s layout and seeing what’s under the baseboard as well as on top !). The wheels are large rubber tap washers fitted in brass bushes attached to steel axles. The axles revolve in brass bearings set into wood frames secured to the underside of the baseboard with packing between to adjust the height of the table.

    Turntable 4.jpg

    The table is turned by one of the wheels, which is driven by a motor and worm drive salvaged from an old video recorder, and some old Meccano gears.

    Turntable 5.jpg

    Indexing of the table to the three tracks is by means of a brass rod or bolt (shown by the arrow in the above photo) which is driven by a Fulgurex point motor into holes in brass strips fixed to the edge of the table disc. The change over switches on the motor are wired so that the table motor can only operate when the bolt is withdrawn and also track power is cut off at the same time.

    Turntable 6.jpg

    The table is operated by the panel shown above. With the left hand switch in the ‘lock’ position the table is secured with the bolt, the table motor is isolated and the track on the table is live. Switching to ‘unlock’ the bolt is withdrawn, power is allowed to the table motor and the track is isolated. The next switch controls the direction of rotation, and the next is the table motor switch. When the table is fairly close to the required position the motor switch is turned off and any required final adjustment done by briefly operating the table motor by stabbing the push button on the right. The final adjustment, say about 1mm, is done by locking the table as the locking bolt has a tapered end entering a chamfered hole in the brass indexing plate on the edge of the table. To the right of the panel is the shaft of a rheostat connected to the table motor power supply, normally left untouched but can be used to speed things up if required
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  16. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    Very impressive, I've started measuring rooms here, much to the concern of the domestic authorities and my 22 yr old son, I've suggested he needs to find a house soon :cool:

    Always had a soft spot for the D&RGW narrow gauge. Jeff Terry has some nice detail and scenic shots on his Flickr site Jeff Terry

    Here's a couple of sites I've rear and re read, it's On3 and it's the same guy running two threads, probably due to the layout name change or something, but well worth a browse for some scenery techniques.
    Manns Creek
    Railroad Line Forums - Manns Creek Railway
    Slater Creek
    Railroad Line Forums - Slater Creek Railway

    My only problem with On3 is it's a touch too small for me (I'm a bit of a detail nerd), but G is a touch too large (not enough space), something in between would be nice and I have the same issue with SAR NG and wanting a decent sized NGG16, again between the two scale.

    It wouldn't take much for me to jump to NG and this isn't helping, but carry on :D, like the concept, design, track work and carpentry, all very impressive.
    Last edited: 10 February 2019
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  17. PhilH

    PhilH Western Thunderer

    Thanks for the links and comments Mickoo

    The handlaid track ties are from Kappler Mill & Lumber Co. stained with brown leather dye, and spikes are Micro Engineering #30-106 Small Spikes. Code 100 rail was used on the On3 track and Code 124 on the mixed gauge.

    Track Details.jpg

    The whole track layout was designed on a computer drawing program, considered necessary with squeezing so much in such a small space to maintain clearances, minimum radii, etc. This also included spacing each individual tie, perhaps a little too precise considering the prototype.

    Track 001.JPG

    Completed trackwork for the through station

    Track 002.JPG

    Track 003.JPG

    I couldn't resist incorporating a stub switch in the layout

    Track 004.JPG

    Track 005.JPG

    Nearly completed trackwork in the upper terminal, two sidings on the left remain to be railed.

    Track 006.JPG
    The junction of the narrow gauge and standard gauge. The tapered rail is fixed , there are no moving parts just a changeover switch to change the polarity of the crossing - which its too easily to forget to change !

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  18. PhilH

    PhilH Western Thunderer

    Point 002.JPG

    Point 003.JPG

    The crossing V's and wing rails are fixed together by soldering them to a brass plate hidden under the rails before laying on the ties, and the check rails are also fixed similarly to their adjacent running rails.

    Point 004.JPG

    The turnout blades are pivotted to the closure rails with a brass strip bent into a 'U' shape. A slot is made near the end of the blade and the brass strip passed through, bent into a 'U' shape and then soldered on each side to the closure rail. At the other end the blades are fixed to the tiebar by soldering to pins which are passed through holes in the tiebar with the head of the pin under the tiebar. Above the tiebar the pin is bent over the foot of the rail, then bent with a short length along the web of the rail and soldered into position.
  19. PhilH

    PhilH Western Thunderer

    Last item to be described on the trackwork is the turntable at the top terminal.

    Turntable 2a.JPG

    This was sized long enough to hold a K36

    Turntable 2b.JPG

    On the approach the track changes from 3 rail to 4 rail to locate locos of both gauges over the centre of the table.

    Turntable 2c.jpg
    The deck of the table revolves with a pair of wheels at each end on a circular rail round the edge of the pit. Track power is collected via the circular rail and wheels to the running rails on the table.

    Turntable 2d.JPG

    Underneath the table the pivot shaft extends and is fitted with a large hardboard disc which is clamped between, and driven by, a pair of rubber (tap washer) wheels. The top wheel - above the disc and hidden from view in the photo - is driven by a gearhead motor salvaged from some redundant electrical item and Meccano gears. The lower wheel is fixed to a shaft with a fixed pivot at its left hand (in the photo) end and a pivot at its right hand end in a steel block retained by two long wood screws with springs between their heads and the block, thus by adjusting the screws the hardboard disc can be clamped firmly between the two wheels. The table revolves only through 180 degrees with fixed stops at each end of its travel to line it up to the approach track. The white plastikard attached to the disc is a cam which connects with the microswitch on the right of the photo and this cuts off power to the circular rails in the pit while the table support wheels are passing over the gap in the circular rails and reversing the polarity of the running rails on the table.

    The motor is driven from the track supply via a decoder, so to turn a loco it is driven on to the table, you then change the controller from the loco address to the table address, check the end of the table planking - there is a mark on each end which determines which way the table has to turn, clockwise is forward on the controller, anti-clockwise is reverse, set the speed and then when its near finished turning, slow it down to stop so it hits the end stop gently, change to the loco address and drive the loco off.

    Phew !! I hope that's all clear, its very "Heath Robinson" but it works.
    Last edited: 14 August 2019
  20. PhilH

    PhilH Western Thunderer

    Hill 002B.jpg
    A short tunnel has been provided on the mixed gauge track with the first stage of scenery above and around it. There will be a rock face to the left of the tunnel entrance and a rock face to the right extending down to the lower level track. Below the lower level track there will be a stone retaining wall. The prospect of a tunnel with a thin wall of rock between it and the open air on one side is unlikely in reality, but the theory is that the mixed gauge curves off to the left from the tunnel entrance into the hillside. Beyond the tunnel the mixed gauge runs into the top level terminus so its unrelated to the short section of narrow gauge track below before that disappears into its own tunnel. Well, its not ideal but it works for me.

    Rock Castings.jpg

    The rock faces will be formed in plaster castings from Woodland Scenics rubber moulds. Its going to be like a jigsaw puzzle assembling these in to some kind of believable rock face.