A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

July 11, 2010

A Necessary Evil

Wiring... a part of the hobby I don't really enjoy, but it must be done. Now that tracks have reached Aquia Landing, I spent a good part of the weekend cutting gaps, soldering feeders and running bus wires.  I just about have the Brooke Area wiring finished.  Trains were running from Brooke to Aquia Landing on flex track. The flex track will remain in the hidden return track, but will be replaced at Aquia Landing. I started adding roadbed in Aquia, but decided to finish the wiring at Brooke first.

Brooke siding and the hidden track will be one booster. Aquia Landing and the rest of the layout be be on separate boosters. That makes a total of three. But I can try using only one initially. The wiring is set up so that it will be simple to add boosters in the future.

I did some test running from Aquia to Brooke looking at different ways to scenic the back track. Normally my objective is to minimize hidden track, but in this case the best solution really is to hide the return track under a ridge. My wife suggested an alternative of some additional tunnel portals so that a portion of the return track would be visible.

I made a stone portal for the southern end of the tunnel. Once we saw how big the tunel portal was, she aggreed that more tunnels would not look right in the space available.
Once wiring is done I can rough in the terrain forms at Brooke and test the hidden return track to see how it will work in terms of operations. The idea is to force the operators to stop once they enter the tunnel and wait about 5 minutes. This simulates the long run from Aquia Landing to Brooke.

The Tunnel Portal

This is the first, and probably the only,  tunnel portal for the layout. The freelanced model was based on the original western portal at Blue Ridge crossing designed by Crozet. I added a date of 1858 to the face of my tunnel portal. That helps set the time frame for visitors. The tunnel is laser cut using architectural cardboard. It has a slight stone texture. The brick liners are G scale brick plastic card I had on hand. The overscale bricks are not too noticeable in the tunnel lining. I gave the stones a coat of black spray then added the brick liner. I did a quick dry brush and dull cote. I'll touch up the paint once things are dry. You can see one of the black feeder wires in the lower left.

"Painted" Sky
This was the sky that greeted us on the golf course Sunday Morning.  I made me think of  Monet, maybe that's why my golf game was so bad.


  1. AnonymousJuly 12, 2010

    Nice! This was a weekend for people to wire up the layouts...
    Question: How big (Amperage-wise) are your boosters?

  2. I don't know the amperage rating. I'd have to look it up. I am using Easy DCC with wireless throttles. O scale locos draw more current than smaller scales, but 4 locos is a small number of engines for the typical DCC system.

    Total current draw isn't my main concern as I'll only have three or four locos running at a time. I was more concerned about a short in one district disrupting operations on the whole layout if all is on one booster.

  3. Good idea AW had.... once you get that tunnel portal in and get it weathered, it'll look great