Monday, June 22, 2015


After placing the cart before the horse with the first full mainline operation ( ), I tackled providing proper switch controls for the turnouts on the mountain grade.  That first operation was scheduled within an operating weekend agreement among layout owners in the greater Portland area.  We share many of the same crew-members.  I needed to schedule an early June operation or wait until July or August. 

Until I can spend the time connecting switch machines to the interfaces to a computer and then developing the controlling computer code, my power switches will be controlled via the local (“hand throw”) control toggle switches mounted in the layout fascia.  This created two tasks: attaching the fascia and wiring the toggle switches.  I followed the same pattern developed on the core of the layout.  A hardboard fascia is mounted (glued) to a plywood support face.  Most of the fascia extends from near track level down to cover the bottom of the L-girder layout supports.  Most of my fascia is 9 to 12 inches high.  I install backing plates behind the plywood support face where I will install switch control toggles or the throw rod for manual controls (using Blue Point switch machines).  I drill the 1/4 inch mounting hole through the entire assembly.  Then I remove the backing plates and drill a 2-1/2 inch hole in the fasica to provide a control recess.  After a quick coat of paint on the edges of the hole and the backing plate, the plate is re-installed and the switch control installed.

Switch control toggle switch installed in fascia recess.

I began with the pair of basic sidings on the mountain grade—Wicopee and Cruzatte.  This also involved a high fascia piece spanning between the lower track climbing toward Wicopee and the upper siding and future train order station location at Cruzatte.  The lower line will be in Tunnel 20 under this overhanging section of Cruzatte.   Though not needed for mounting switch controls, I also installed a curved section of fascia for the big curve (more than 90 degrees) in my Wicopee siding. 

Mountain siding fascia with tall panel spanning between the lower line with Tunnel 20 and Cruzatte on the upper line.

Fascia for Wicopee siding curving around the the RR-West end on the right.  The backing plate for the Wicopee RR-West switches has not yet been re-installed.

At Cascade Summit, I chose to use only a modest height fascia to maximize light flowing underneath for operations on the initial part of the grade coming up out of Oakridge.  Most of my fascia is painted a dark green—it fits with western Oregon.  For Cascade Summit and other parts of the upper deck, I use a gray paint that I find less distracting when viewed with the sky back drop of the lower level.  The gray also may suggest the rock formations that are more prevalent at higher elevations.

Cascade Summit fascia installed and painted.

The final area to receive fascia at this time is at McCredie Springs.  The fascia has been installed and I now am working on the switch control recesses.  The fascia is continuous from RR-West Wicopee to RR-East McCredie Springs.  All of Cascade Summit has fascia up to the drop for Cascade Creek at the RR-East end.  My next operating session will be much easier for all now that the switches have proper controls.

McCredie Springs fascia installed.

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