This is the second part of Dennis Rietze's article about his model railroad, the Silver Springs Railway and transportation Company, which was written for Canadian Railway Modeller magazine. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher.
Another aspect of DCC is the option available through a stationary decoder which will allow the remote control of turnouts. With limitations in moving around in the layout room, the remote control option is a big bonus. At present I am still in the connection and wiring stage and once they are all installed, throwing switches will be done from the throttle.
The layout scenes are that of basic flat prairie due to the low ceiling, with yards and industries for switching. Most all of the structures are Walthers kits along with others that I have kitbashed to my liking.
As I proceeded with construction and operating trains I discovered that there needed to be more double track sections to allow for better operation and interest; I therefore added extra sidings and plan on adding more as needed. The track is code 100 Atlas with Peco switches.
The most recent work on the layout was the completion of the backdrops. After looking at different methods and ready made products, I chose to use backdrops from SceniKing. The company produces backdrops in a variety of scenes which match up with each other and can form a continuous scene with no duplication. One can choose the scenes that suit an era, too. Each backdrop is 16 x 72 inches and they piece together nicely. It takes two
people to install the backdrops and my wife kindly helped me hang the nine sections I needed to complete the backdrop. I am extremely pleased with the effect of the product – the layout has come alive with the use of this type of backdrop product.
As my father had worked for the CPR, it made the choice of roads to operate on the layout easy. Initially I ran with Union Pacific and CPR but have changed to CPR as my main road with some SSR&T “clones.” I began with just DCC with no sound on my locomotives but as sound has become more common and the quality of the decoders has improved, I have begun to change more of my locomotives to sound equipped. I favour new locos with Soundtraxx Tsunami Systems decoders.
Prior to dealing with other aspects of the layout, it is my intention this year to complete the ballasting of all the track. Then I want to proceed with planning and building a staging yard and additional industries that will require sidings and switching opportunities. Future plans on the SSR&T also include the installation of the remaining stationary decoders to permit remote control of turnouts – maneuvering in a crawl space to change turnouts is not quick and easy, even on a wheeled mechanic’s stool!
Signalling on the layout is not really in the plans at this point but, with my somewhat fascination for the electronics end of operation, I’m sure it will happen once all other aspects of the layout are complete. Yes, the SSR&T is a fun work in progress!
Using his laptop, Dennis programs a locomotive on his isolated program track.