Monday, December 04, 2006

On dirty track and things that go bump in the night

Here you see my infamous "loops." They in no way resemble the "loops" on Southern Railway between Ridgecrest and Old Fort but they give me headaches just like the real ones. Of course, who am I trying to fool, Marble Grade does not remotely look like this. I needed a way to go from my lower level at Bushnell to the upper level at Nantahala and on to Andrews. So I created my loops. I would suppose that a correct description would be a pyramidal helical loop. It starts with a larger circumference which gets smaller as the track rises.

It is cut from one sheet of luan in a very long spiral. The headaches come from the fact that it is precariously positioned (on firm base) in the utility room. I knocked a hole in the wall to let trains head into the "loops."

Issue one comes from the fact that I can't easily reach all of the track. It gets dirty if the trains don't run regularly.

I haven't been running trains regularly.

So the only solution is to run an engine dragging/or pushing a car that I built with a small piece of "floating" masonite. This slowly cleans the rails. I have to run the engine back and forth in short distances. If it goes too far it stalls where the track isn't clean. So that means forward about three inches and then backwards to clean track a couple of feet and then full tilt forwards to the last stop point until another small section is clear and then extend the run another three inches.

I just finished cleaning one of the two tracks and it took about thirty minutes.

Issue two is that to cut down on dirty track I really should build something around it to protect it. But that also means that I must be able to access it in case of emergencies.

Part of issue two is how to see the progress of trains inside "the box". I'm wondering whether a camera hooked to my USB port would work. I've got a cheap older camera. Hmmmm. But that means light inside and a way to shift the camera.

Maybe it would be easier to buy a ticket on AMTRAK.