Wenton L. Davis

The Wenton L. Davis RailRoad

This is under construction.... the web page, the model railroad, everything! Still, here are pictures of the board built in my "library."

Centered in my "library," I bought four matching bookcases that are 40 inches tall.  This was a bit taller than I wanted, because I really didn't like the idea of trains jumping off the tracks and plumetting to their deaths.  A challenger steam engine did so just a month before I bought my new house, and after several shops looked at it, the challenger was pronounced dead.  I'll deal with that later. For now, let's get going... hammer, drills, yardstick, and let's not forget the Mountain Dew.... half gone and I haven't even started yet!

After some fenagling with the bookcases (which were surprisingly heavy already), I've got the board screwed down to the tops of the bookcases.  Notice the state of the Mountain Dew?

No, it's not an optical illusion.... the track is straight, but notice that gap between the shelf and the wall? It would seem that my new house is not exactly square.

And not quite level, either.

Seriously not quite level! That 1 degree was livable, but 3.35 degrees? No, that's not right.  So, add a few shims, readjust the bookcases (again), and I've got everything within 1 degree.  I did, however, go through a lot of Mountain Dew in the process!

Now, back to that issue of keeping trains from jumping to the floor.... I got a bunch of floorboard molding and nailed it into the edging around the board.  Later, this will be trimmed and sanded to make less angry corners.  I wanted to cut nice 45 degree corners, but I have one giant miterbox for HUGE cuts (and no saw that fits it), and a tiny miterbox that was FAR too small.

The parking shelf I built years ago is lining up nicely. I have it sitting on top of another 40-inch bookcase for now.... wait... I had everything sitting on 40-inch bookcases before I had to realign everything's heights...

...and although it looks like everything is lining up nicely for the shelf brackets...

...this had to turn into...

...this to make the surfaces line up correctly.  Without this, the level was bad enough that traincars would start rolling downhill.  I would have been OK with that if downhill was not towards the main line!

So I now have to trim a small access route through the edge of my old shelf...

...and the tabletop is ready to go!

Now to start the wiring on the bottom of the main board, which will sit inside the frame of the table top.  unfortunately, the wires for the lightposts are made of super-fine wire, and when I tried to feed the wires through the holes I drilled, they got lost in hollowed areas of the old plywood.  I had to solder both wires to a firmer copper feeder wire to use as a needle to thread through the holes in the board.

I am familiar with the "measure twice, cut once," so I was very careful with placing where I wanted to drill the holes.... then I reduced the length to make sure the wires... would.... reach.... damnit! Time for some more Mountain Dew and a breather to consider this.

Ahhh..... there we go!

And after several hours, I have the city streetlights powered by red and orange cables, the switchyard lights are powered by black and brown cables.  The varous different rails (inner loop, outer loop, crossover, inner switchyard, and rail to the bridge to the old display shelf) are all color-coded as well.

The trainboard is now ready to put up on the table-top.  I did take time to stain the guard-rails around the table-top just to make things look a little better.

And here it is! And you may have noticed this piece of paper floating around this whole time? It is easier to see, here; it is the original layout plan I started with.

And all of those color-coded cables drop down near where I need to build the control panel.  Now, where is that page I wrote on, logging which color is which connection......?

Apply a little bit of power and the city streetlights and the switchyard lights light up.  Yeah, the city streetlights are on ; it just doesn't look like it, here.  You can also see I am starting to work out the details in the bridgwork between the two boards.  Now, It seems to me that since the main board and the shelf top levels are both 3/8" above the table-top, and I have some 3/16" panelling, that 2 layers of panelling should raise the level for the bridgework to the same level as the tops of the other boards.  Um........ then again, after putting the panelling in place, it turns out they are a bit warped, and still a bit shy of the desired height.  My layout will have a couple of slight bumps to it, but I think it'll be OK.

Still, it's time to play a little.  I mean - I need to check to see if the rails are all receiving power.  Turns out this was a necessary step because there were a couple of points on the board that had worked their way loose.

Isn't it a little appropriate that the first train to run on the new setup is the "Dewitt-Clinton," which was one of the first trains, period?

Here is the final layout, including a small switchyard added onto the bridgework.  Might as well take advantage of as much space as I can!

A look at the switchyard on the bridgework.  I need to buy a few more switch controllers.

Now to build that control panel.  Pass the Mountain Dew while I contemplate this.  At the moment, I was going to use those big square panels with the green switches, but so many of them are in such bad shape, I don't know if they will work.  I think I need to order a bunch of on-off-on toggle switches.


Reach me by email (wenton@ieee.org)