Welcome To My Lionel Layout
After several years of planning and numerous drawings and revisions, a track plan was finalized in late 1999. Construction began in December 1999. The first phase of construction included building benchwork and adding the second level. Benchwork is 1 X 4 framing with 2 X 4 legs with leveling feet. The table top is 1/2" plywood. The "L" shaped layout measures 13' X 15'. The second level covers an area of roughly 4' X 6' in the corner of the "L".
The second phase of construction began in March of 2000. The existing track was removed and carpet padding was added (8 pound rebond foam) to all benchwork. After painting the carpet padding green, the track was reinstalled with rubber ties (3R Plastics) and cork roadbed (Midwest Cork). Numerous accessories and buildings were added in the following months. In addition, a shelf was added under one-half of the layout for storage.
The third phase was wiring the layout. This started in March 2001, and is a "work in progress". A fold down panel was installed under the layout, and terminal strips were attached to the panel. One new MTH Z4000 was purchased in June 2001 and is being used to power the two main lines. A Postwar Celebration Series ZW with two 180 watt bricks is being used to run the switches, accessories, and sidings. A postwar LW transformer is used to power a lights on the layout. Eight bus wires were run around the entire layout. The bus wires are 14 gauge stranded wire. One each for mainline 1 (Z4000 green wire), mainline 2 (Z4000 red wire), switches and uncoupling sections (ZW "B" blue wire 16v), accessory A (ZW "C" yellow wire 14v), accessory B (ZW "A" silver wire 18v), accessory C (ZW "D" gold wire 10v), lighting (LW white wire 12v), and ground (black wire, common ZW, LW, and Z4000). All connections to the main bus were made using in-line splice connectors by 3M. These connectors made adding an accessory a simple matter of drilling a hole through the table, dropping a pair of wires, and attaching the wires to the appropriate voltage bus wires with the connectors.
The control panel was added in January 2002. The control panel uses a piano hinge along the top to allow tilt up access for easy connections and maintenance. Standard Lionel controllers are used on the control panel for the switches and uncoupling sections. Miniature toggle switches (Radio Shack #275-325) are mounted underneath corresponding switch controllers for sidings and mainline blocks. Push button switches (Radio Shack #275-617 or #275-618) and Lionel Controllers will be used for all other accessories.
MTH's Digital Command System (DCS) was added in the fall of 2002. The Track Interface Unit (TIU) is powered by a MTH Z-750 transformer. An Accessory Interface Unit (AIU) was also purchased in the fall of 2002. The AIU will be installed after all wires have been run to the main control panel. The TIU and AIU are mounted on the fold down panel. The wiring scheme seems to be very compatible with the DCS system. Both TIU channels are providing a signal strength of 9-10 around the entire layout.
The fourth phase has been adding scenery and details. In March of 2006 considerable progress was made with the addition of the background building flats, retaining walls, new highway across the front of the control panel, and a complete re-design of the town area. Still a work in progress.... A park is planned for the town square, additional building flats will be added behind the town area.
Photos of the layout in various stages of construction are available below.
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