September 2009 Status

The tables (phase 1, excluding the end section with the helix) are all assembled and mounted to the legs, with scenery backdrops and paint. That’s taken more than a month (after a couple of months of planning, mostly deciding on a track plan). I’m still in the design phase for the electrical systems. After some experiments with foam height and bridges, the design of the subway (and its implications for how many foam layers I will use) is done (I hope).

A pile of Kato DCC decoders arrived a few days ago, so sometime soon I’ll begin installing and programming them and doing my initial testing of DCC systems to finish the electrical design. Supposedly the trains will still work on DC track once the decoders are installed.

I’m really tempted to slap down some track and see how the track plan looks in real life, as I’ll need to do that before I start cutting foam, just in case it causes me to revise the plan (again). I spent more than a month, and came up with about 10 track plans, before I was satisfied with the result to begin building the table’s structure (and I’ve been tweaking it ever since). But that just means I have all the elements I want, and the Unitrack will (theoretically) fit together the way I want it to. I’m not great at visualizing the result from the track plan; I need to actually see it before I’ll be sure it’s right.

But to do that I need to disassemble the Kitchen Table Layout to recycle its track. And I’m reluctant to take that step until I’m sure there aren’t other hitches. I really want to go from that to something that works well enough to run a couple of trains (even if they’re DC) fairly quickly, so I’m not without a layout and unable to run trains for an extended period.