What's New on the PRR Panhandle 2.0? Apr 25, 2020 4:21:43 GMT waitin4thetrain, Country Joe, and 6 more like this
Post by g3750 on Apr 25, 2020 4:21:43 GMT
The Prototype - Background & History
This layout is my second attempt to model the 7 miles of the PRR Panhandle that ran through the northern panhandle of West Virginia and Steubenville, OH. The Panhandle was a second mainline of the Pennsylvania Railroad from Pittsburgh to St. Louis. It existed from 1848 through 1995. Grif Teller immortalized the double track bridge across the Ohio River in the painting “Crossroads of Commerce” which appeared in the 1953 Pennsylvania Railroad Calendar. That bridge still stands and the track using it serves Weirton Steel (now Arcelor Mittal) and the brick refractories and businesses on the New Cumberland secondary. Unfortunately, from Weirton Junction through Burgettstown and points east, the track has been pulled up and the right of way has been converted to a hiking / bike trail.
I grew up in Weirton, WV in the 1950s & 1960s. I left in 1978, but still have family and other ties in the area. The PRR double-track bridge at MP 42.11 was always a source of fascination for me, even as a small child going to Steubenville with my parents and grandparents. However, it was not until I saw Teller’s painting (in the late 1990s) that I realized what I wanted to model.
Vital Layout Statistics:
- Size & Shape: Folded dog bone – 11’ x 39.5’. There is an 11’ x 7.5’ staging yard behind the eastern backdrop. Total dimensions are 11’ x 47’ (517 square feet).
- Track: Mostly GarGraves w/ some Curtis and Ross sectional curves, Curtis Hi-Rail and Ross Custom Switch turnouts.
- Yards: Weirton Junction, Weirton Steel, Federal Paperboard, Armour Packing Spur, Staging
- Command System: TMCC. Turnouts have Z-Stuff DZ-2500C switch machines, controlled by both CAB-1 and pushbutton
- Wiring & Blocking: 8 power districts supplied from 1 centrally located power distribution panel, each with its own bus.
- Power: Two (2) Lionel 135 watt PowerHouses provide power to Districts 1 and 6, respectively. Six (6) Lionel 180 watt PowerHouses will supply power to districts 2-5, 7 and 8. Three (3) K-Line PowerChief 120 transformers will power switch machines, lights, and some AC accessories. All DC accessories, building lights, traffic signals and street lights get their power from various 3VDC, 5VDC, and 12VDC power supplies.
- Signals: Z-Stuff DZ-1060 PRR position signals (6) & MTH PRR signal bridges (2). The layout is only signaled for travel in the counter-clockwise direction.
Differences between Version 1.0 and Version 2.0
I feel that the increase in size (primarily length) contributes to a more accurate representation of the area. Panhandle 1.0 was an ambitious design crippled by limited space. Panhandle 2.0 is similar in its major design aspects, but the additional space permits these features to be separated by scenery. My intention is to avoid crowding layout elements and give a real sense of distance between the features.
- Select a uniform height (50”) that facilitates working underneath comfortably.
- Avoid grades and take steps to make track as issue-free as possible.
- Make the fascia, table tops, and legs as attractive as possible; use high quality wood and stain exposed components. Plan for layout skirting.
- Minimize the use of cookie cutter sub-roadbed.
- Make aisles wide enough for comfort and provide space for seating at least a dozen people.
- Allow the simultaneous operation of at least 3 trains on the mainline and up to 3 switchers in yards or spurs.
- Use curves large enough to permit the running of the largest PRR locomotives and scale passenger cars (requires O72).
- Permit the running of long trains (10-20 hoppers or 8 passenger cars).
- Use a signaling system that prevents collisions.
- Allow operating sessions to take place.
Panhandle 1.0 was originally conceived in 1997 as a conventionally blocked layout. In 2005, I decided to install TMCC, but was influenced by the arrival of DCS. After trying a DCS/TMCC combination during construction, I decided TMCC was the direction to pursue. In 2007, the change was made to solely TMCC. Panhandle 1.0 was dismantled in early 2017 in preparation for our move back from Central PA to north of Pittsburgh.
Panhandle 2.0 is divided into 8 blocks or power districts – 4 mainline and 4 yards - with the ability to individually control power to the yards. The mainline (districts 2-4) and yards (districts 5-8) are all command controlled. District 1 (River Route) is operable in either command or conventional mode. This separate loop will be reserved for use by children.
- Eliminate multiple power distribution panels
- Simplify and improve labeling for all wires
- Make use of 2-color zipcord where practical
- Improve wiring reliability and crimping techniques
From 5/6/2017 to 4/24/2020:
- Workshop (including installation of masonite pegboard, wire shelving, work surfaces, paint booth, power tools, bookshelves, desk, and computer equipment) is fully operational.
- 4100 K LED track lighting has been installed in both the train room and the workshop.
- Backdrop has been procured and installed.
- 40% of benchwork, including Staging has been completed.
- Power distribution panel has been installed and transformer cart (including procurement of transformers) has been completed
- Panhandle bridge approach spans, bridge piers, and bridge shoes have been procured. Piers have been weathered.
- Ohio shore scenery, West Virginia shore scenery, and river bottom areas are in progress.
More to follow, but that's where I am today.
As always, your thoughts, suggestions, and questions are welcome.