We've been working on the signaling for Hampton and Gilchrist Jct. which will complete the CTC system additions for the expansion. Hampton turnouts are operational via the new TC64 I/O controller, and are currently running ribbon cable for the signal outputs. Signal repeaters will be operational first, as still short a few signals, but we are getting closer on our own H2 signal head project (more later).
The expansion adds a whole new atmosphere to the layout, compared to where previously one could stand in the middle of the room, and operate a train without having to move for much other than a better vantage point of signal indications. That with the installation of the center divider now in place, operators are forced to walk with their train a bit more, giving the overall layout a much stronger walk around feature to it.
The center divider breaks up the layout and makes it seem a lot bigger than before, but it does end abruptly near the end of the peninsula. I wanted a slim vertical line at the end of the backdrop where it stops, which would have been difficult to mask by using a 2X2 sandwiched by a couple sheets of masonite. To achieve the desired effect, I chose to use a single sheet of tempered hardboard, with shelf brackets in strategic locations as supports. To camouflage the brackets, there will be forested hills rising up toward the center of the divider, with careful placement of conifers in front of support brackets. There will be a tall pine buried in the point of the divider, as well as a set of block signals in the foreground to help distract the viewer's attention. Debating on the use of similar tree placement where there are abrupt corners, vs bending a sheet of styrene to conceal the 90 degree backdrop angles...
Above, on far upper left at base of center divider will be the Gilchrist lumber mill, which is the end of the KN shortline. The SP Gilchrist Jct will be on the right rear side of the backdrop for the KN interchange. Iphone image makes it difficult to see the shortline subroadbed grade, but it makes about a two inch climb over its near 15' run between the two small yards.
Some progress on the fascias around Hampton. Once all the lower deck sections of fascia are in, I will fall back and paint them all black also, followed by the same curtains that are already in place on the existing sections of the layout. Will have to revisit station name and MP marker location labeling, as well as color coded line diagrams on fascias. Eventually attention will move from Hampton upward.
No solid plans after we finish up the electrical side, but got plenty to keep me busy.