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More Work on the Thomsonbahn

The Main Line is Finished...

I spent another several days at the Thomson house in February, and thanks to Dave's efforts before-hand, in three days' time we were able to complete the main line!  Here are a few pictures from that long weekend...

The freight yard was slightly modified, as the ramp coming out of the staging yard was too steep (6% at times!).  Using Marklin's grade measurement car (the most useful car we ran all weekend) we were able to achieve a 3% to 4% grade all the way up.  From then on, none of Dave's trains had any trouble making it up the hill...

We laid out the bridges and track for the elevated section of the main line that wraps around the turntable.  When we were convinced that the track plan was sound, we began preparations for completing the main line...

Dave painted the tracks for the bridge sections in charcoal (more realistic than having ballasted M-track on a bridge) while I prepared the walls behind the yard by putting up the backdrop...

 

For the main line's return loop "meeting point" I carefully cut the Marklin bridge sections so the railing and bridges would align properly.  The results speaks for themselves.  Though what you see in the above picture is far against the back wall and not really visible, you can see how the painted track and careful cutting combine to give a very professional appearance (I'm getting a cramp patting myself on the back so much).

Note this slight modification to the track plan...

Dave had suggested a crossover track on the left side of the spaghetti section.  We both quickly realized what amazing operational advantages that would bring, so the crossover track was hastily installed.  Here I am putting up the catenary.  It was necessary to install the catenary at this point, since we would need to put the electric loco service depot above it before completing the main line...

Here is the five-track servicing facility in place.  The final design calls for two service tracks, and three tracks in a large locomotive shed.  The two shorter tracks at the rear are the main line tracks.

Here I am putting up catenary on one of the tracks below where the main line will sit.  Once that was completed, it was time to put in our last piece of plywood/Homasote...

Here is Dave at the controls, as we work one of his locomotives around the new section of main line.

In this picture you can see how the three levels of track work their way around the access hole.  This provides excellent access to any section of track in case there are problems.  That's me, watching the test train come out of the staging yard.  I kept an eye on the train below as it made its way out of the yard to check for clearance issues... 

... and above to make sure it didn't stall on the painted track.

Dave made some last-minute wiring repairs, and we were ready...

Finally the moment came, and Dave turned up the throttle to let the first train around the layout...

We watched carefully as the train worked its way across the bridges...

And then, suddenly, it had happened!  The FIRST TRAIN EVER had gone around the entire main line!  Exhausted, Dave and I wept for joy...

Though the work on the layout is far from over, it meant a lot to know that Dave could now run trains continuously around the layout.  As soon as we get our hands on a measurement car, I'll let everyone know the stats on the main line (scale distance, time to traverse at 100 km/hr, etc). 

Until then, Dave has lots and lots of trains to run around his now completed main line!  Woohoo!

Next: The Boys Play with Blocks, and the Staging Yard Doubles in Size!