Friday, November 12, 2021

Mainline Track Installation Complete

 I have to say there has been plenty of progress since my last post.

I have run Romex and installed double ganged plugs for 120 volt power at points under the bottom level. This was done to supply the power to the command station and booster power districts power supplies, and layout lighting. This also makes it possible to turn on/off power to the entire layout with one wall switch. I also had to modify the boosters power supplies with a "delay on relay" and setting them to activate the boosters power supplies ten seconds after the command station came on. Digitrax boosters have known to confuse the command station if every thing were to come to life at the same time. 

On October 27, 2021 at 9:39 pm, the last section of track was installed on the Colorado & Rio Grande Central Railroad's mainline. Yeah!! Party On!!! The last section of track was installed in the town that will be known as Orogrande, NM. From what I figured using figures from XtrakCAD, the total mainline run and mainline only is 476.5 feet, give or take three feet. For a total run, not bad, I thought. The double track helix has 210 feet of track all together making the helix single line 105 feet roughly. 

Along with completion of the mainline I was able to complete track work for El Paso yard lead, arrival/departure tracks and related turnouts, caboose track, tracks for locomotive servicing facility, the return track to the mainline and southern turnout ladder for the arrival/departure tracks that make up the reverse loop. There was a track installed with a crossing on the main to represent an interchange with Southern Pacific along with two tracks for an interchange yard, and a siding for Orogrande which runs to El Paso. 

Picture of the El Paso yard throat along with the finished yard lead, the arrival/departure tracks with a locomotive escape track just left of the yard lead, the stub ended caboose track to the left of that and finally the mainline on the Woodland Scenics foam elevation sections to the farthest left.

A closer look (in order from the left) at the mainline, caboose spur, arrival/departure and yard lead. 

Pictured here (from the left) is the stub spurs for the El Paso locomotive facility, next to it, the yard lead and the next three tracks are the south end of the arrival/departure tracks with the turnouts and a double slip turnout to make the return to the mainline and complete the reverse loop. The far right track is the mainline from the north. Also pictured is the uncompleted, (at the time of this picture) track for the Southern Pacific interchange lead. The turn out in the middle of the page not joined will be a
spur for industry for the city of El Paso. 

Mainline and siding with open turnout that will lead to industry for El Paso.

Lower peninsula loop mainline and siding between El Paso and Orogrande.

The town of Orogrande with mainline and siding and open turn out for town industries in the back ground.

North end of Orogrande.

Another look at Orogrande looking railroad south.

I took this picture to show how the mainline's (back ground track) final descent and transition with the road bed. The arrival/departure and yard lead tracks in the center and the tail end of the locomotive facility track in the foreground are also seen.

Pictured here is the descent of the mainline with the caboose, arrival/departure tracks, and some of El Paso yard to the left.

Shown here is the completed Southern Pacific interchange yard with the Southern Pacific track crossing the main leading to points off the layout. Far in the background is the yard lead, A&D ladder and the El Paso locomotive faciltiy trackage.

Next project, with the completion of these sections of track in place, comes the tedious task of dropping feeds and district buss wiring along with wiring the reverse loop section with an auto reverser. Like mentioned before in other blog posts wiring is not very photo worthy or in my case not the most appealing part of building a railroad but it is very necessary. Other things to be completed are installing all the ground throws for the turn outs that need them, along with temporary ground throws for the mainline turn outs. The SP interchange yard will get uncoupler magnets and I will mount lighting under the upper peninsula for the bottom peninsula.

I'm excited about getting wiring done so I can start trackage work for the towns, expanding, and planning operations to include these towns. I'm also looking forward to shifting gears and getting involved with building structures for the towns and devoting some time to installing decoders in the CRGC Railroad's locomotive roster that need them and devoting time for signals. I also need to do some research and have some custom decals made with the railroad logo, after all I need to custom paint and decal a few locomotives with the logo. That's a topic for another post on the blog.

I'm also contemplating on changing El Paso Yard to something else since the yard is part of El Paso I thought a name to distinguish it from the city of El Paso would be fitting. Hmmm....(scratching my chin) to think of something unique. 


Friday, June 18, 2021

El Paso Yard

Over the past several months I have been taking on the task of getting the bench work prep for El Paso Yard, and El Paso Yard installed so the mainline could be continued. I also modified an unused automotive creeper to be an under the layout creeper.



 The first step was getting the subroad bed installed and painted so track and turnouts for El Paso Yard could be installed.

After painting was finished, track and turnout laying took place. I realized that I had run out of Kadee  under the track uncoupling magnets (the black squares) so the yard sat partly finished in the photo above as I waited for those to arrive. 

Here is El Paso Yard completed. The 4 yard tracks curving to the left are for roadbed supports and in the future bridge supports for the mainline to curve over the yard.



The next weekend after completing the yard I was able to cutout the curved sub-roadbed for the mainline and install. The picture above shows the cuved portion of the mainline and the mainline decent, to the right, being held down with a few weighted objects to hold things in place as the glue sets up.

After the glue had set up, I was able to continue installation of the cork roadbed and mainline track. Both the approach and decent from the bridge were made easy with Woodland Scenics 2% riser sets. The above photo shows the main line approaching the bridge to span over the yard.



The above 2 photos shows the curved mainline roadbed support. Which someday in the future will have a scratch built bridge to replace the plywood support shown here. It may be some time before this is completed for the fact that I have never scratch built anything and don't have a clue as how to accomplish it.

The completed yard with the mainline decent to the right. Next project will be to clear off the misc. building materials on the other lower peninsula so the mainline can be completed with the reverse loop, the city of Orogrande, and connections to El Paso yard. After all this is completed, the tedious task of wiring will have to be done. Ugh!



I took and an unused automotive creeper and turned it into and under the layout creeper. I needed one of these or something close to it to make it easier to wire and perform other activities that will need to be attended to under the layout on the lower level with out having to crawl around on the floor. This is what I came up with.


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Sunday, April 04, 2021

C&RGC Railroad MAP and LOGO

 I have spent some time over the last month or so deciding on a logo for the C&RGC RailRoad. Between layout work sessions, I've tried to get my creative juices flowing so I could come up with a system map for the railroad and to incorporate the logo also. The system map was created in about two to three weeks, with tons of re-dos. Thank goodness for Google maps and Microsoft paint programs which made the creation easier than I thought and I had some fun doing it too. 

The first project was creating a logo for the railroad. After about a week of trying different free logo creation programs on the web I settled on It was able to let me establish a logo for the railroad. I wanted a logo that was simple and different at the same time. I finally decided on the logo below.

With the logo created, I was able to move onto the next project, creating a system map. I used Google maps to create the routing. I used the print screen function on the computer and pasted it into Microsoft Paint. With Paint, I was able to erase all the map details except the routing and town names and added text where needed, the two railroad logos, and other details. I was also able to copy and paste the routing for Yrbi. I'm not sure if this will be the final version but it gives me a little satisfaction to have a system map. If future updates are made the final versions will be posted to the blog. The system map is shown below. Note: The town names are actual existing towns on a google map except for Yrbi which is my fictitious branchline town.

I would like to have these printed on a brochure along with the railroad back story when I have visitors to the railroad. As always comments are welcomed, so let me know what you think of my map and logo creations.

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Friday, February 26, 2021

Progress Continues


It's been a while since my last post to the blog so, I'll dive right into what has been happening on the layout. I have decided on names for the towns on the layout including one town I changed the name of, that has appeared in earlier posts to the blog. Note: Besides Santa Fe, El Paso, and Yrbi, unless otherwise mentioned, it has not been decided as to the types of industries or the number of industries that will occupy these towns. I'm trying to focus on getting mainline track completed so as to have a continuous loop without having to reverse a train in the opposite direction. 

First, Santa Fe, NM, the northern most town along with Denver and Salt Lake City represented by long staging tracks near Santa Fe Yard. I have also mentioned these towns in earlier posts.


Continuing southward is Clines Corner, NM which is just a town name on the railroad with no services provided by the railroad. I thought it would be a clever play on the name since the track sweeps through a left hand turn in the corner of the layout room, in essence it's just a name of a block of track on the railroad.


Town names continuing southward are as follows: Encino, NM, then Duran, NM, which will have Yrbi Junction interchange for interchange traffic to the branchline town of Yrbi along with a couple other undecided industries. 

Next is Carrizozo, NM, which is the town I changed the name of. This town used to be called Summit. This town will have spur tracks for trains to pickup or drop off dummy helper locomotives to traverse the helix as to enhance operations along with other industries. 

Next is Oscuro, NM, which is located halfway down the helix or halfway up the helix depending on the direction of train travel. No services provided by the railroad.


Tularosa, NM is the next town's name and is on the bottom level to the right of the helix. This town will also have spur tracks for pickup and drop off of dummy locomotives to traverse the helix. This town will also have way freight industries along with a large industry on the left side of the helix underneath the upper level branch line town of Yrbi.


The next town is Alamogordo, NM, then Orogrande, NM, then finally El Paso, Texas. One project I would like to tackle is to make a map drawing of the railroad so that I have something to reference. When this is completed I will post it to the blog.


Track construction continued with the beginnings of construction on the bottom level at the bottom of the helix in Tularosa, YAAAY!! Mainline track was installed with turnouts for the helper locomotive spur tracks and turnouts for the lead track around the outside of the helix to the large industry just left of the helix. There will be a spur for an industry along the west wall of the layout room. 

The double track mainline coming from the helix combines into one track via a turnout at the north end of Alamogordo. The track continues and reaches a curve at the end of the peninsula and starts to gain elevation to go over the mainline, and over the to be constructed southern end of El Paso yard.

Tularosa, at the bottom of the helix. You can see a jut in space in the wall just to the right of the mainline and just past where the sub roadbed turns from brown to a lighter color. This will be the location of a building front to represent an industry. This will be a lift out building front for access to the window which is part of the room construction. There will also be a storage spur along with the spur for the industry. Also seen is the lead track for the large industry that will be to the left of the helix disappear in the background.

Mainline curving to the right where it meets the turnout to combine into one track in Alamogordo. In this photo you can see the foam riser where the main will cross over itself.

Alamogordo with foam riser in the background. In this photo, El Paso yard will be to the right of the chair. Alamogordo is located beneath Duran on the top level.

End of the peninsula and the south end of Alamogordo.

Beginning of the foam riser.

More photos of the foam riser. This riser is a 2% incline riser by Woodland Scenics.

Foam riser at the point where the mainline will cross itself.

In this photo you can see how the mainline will proceed and just to the right of this photo will be where the main will cross over the open ended part of El Paso Yard and continue along the north wall of the room back down to bench work level via another set of foam risers. Note: The foam riser end in this picture was not glued in its final position thus making it look like it would not line up with the curve representing the curvature of the mainline.

Next for mainline continuation is to get some bench work modifications made before sub-roadbed can be installed for track work of El Paso yard. El Paso yard has to be installed before mainline continuation. Wiring for Tularosa and Alamogordo needs to be installed as well. One other project I want to tackle is installation of infrastructure for bottom level lighting.


Yes! I have been able to operate trains from Santa Fe to the branchline town of Yrbi. At present I have a grain train and a mixed manifest that runs between the two towns. I also have a local that switches out the Grain elevator and the feed supply store in Yrbi. I have timed the operation of these three trains and it has come close to three hours to complete, from make up in the yard to switching in Yrbi to breaking the trains down at Santa Fe and running the local in Yrbi.
This may be the reason why progress has slowed. Haha!

 One thing I have not as yet tried is running a grain train or a mixed manifest from Yrbi to the two staging towns of Denver and Salt Lake City. Future thought and experimentation needed.

 The one thing I have discovered after a few operating sessions, is the need to install turnout motors and supporting electrical for the entrance turnouts for the yard leads and arrival/departure track turnouts near Santa Fe Yard. This will enable the Yardmaster to operate these turnouts from the Yardmasters position. As it is now, I have to keep walking back and forth from the Yardmasters side of the upper peninsula to the opposite side in order to operate these turnouts when needed. 

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Friday, October 02, 2020

Yrbi and Layout Updates


Things have progressed quite well in the terminus of the Yrbi branch line, known none other as the town of Yrbi. Just in case there is a question on pronunciation it is, YUR-bee. I came up with the name of Yrbi from listening to dramitized story by Louis L'amor on CD. One of the characters last name in the story was Yrbi.

 The grain elevator has been constructed along with one silo add on kit, both are Walthers kits, and placed in position. The yard ladder, spur tacks for the grain elevator, and a runaround track have been installed. There also was enough room to install tracks for two more industries for the town of Yrbi. These industries have not been decided on as of yet. It is planned that operations for Yrbi will be provided by a local switching job that will run to the interchange at Yrbi junction in Duran. The local job will pickup/drop off cuts of cars from/for mainline trains from/for destinations north and south on the mainline then return on the branch and switch those cuts of cars for the local industries at Yrbi. No mainline trains will be allowed on the branch. Turnout control will be provided by ground throws that are reachable. For the non reachable turnouts I plan on using Fast Tracks Bullfrog turn out controls. These will be used for the turnout ladder for the spur tracks for the grain elevator. I also plan on using these temporarily where needed on the mainline until automation for the mainline turnouts can be installed.

Town of Yrbi.

Yrbi grain elevator. I still need to construct and paint the head house for the add on silos on top, (missing in the picture).

Two views of the future industries, a close up and a view with the runaround and grain elevator spur tracks to the left. Notice the under the track uncoupling magnets in the top picture.

Close up of the yard ladder for the grain spur tracks. These turn outs will be controlled by the Bullfrog manual turn out controls mentioned earlier. This view also offers the view of the under the track uncoupling magnets too.

A close up view of the end of track bump stops that I'm using. These are made by Peco and are super simple to assemble and install.

There will be other additions added to the grain facility when they are constructed and I can figure out how to fit them in the space I have. I plan on putting a grain bin with a conveyor leg and a grain dryer, along with propane tanks to supply the fuel for the grain dryer. The propane tanks will add to operations by supplying a LPG tank car to transfer propane to the propane tanks.


After purchasing two Digitrax DB210 boosters, I have also completed assembly of the power station for the third power district and wired it in and provided the loco-net connections as well. It took me severals hours to trouble shoot a problem I was having with the booster when I got it installed.  I finally found the problem, it was due to a bad crimp on one of the loco-net cables from district two. When you purchase a command station from Digitrax they supply, (or at least it came with my command station purchased years ago), an LT1. This little device helps those of us that make up our own loco-net cables, to make sure they are assembled correctly. Had I used this little device I could have saved myself several hours of frustration and scratching my head wondering what was going on. Live and learn, every loco-net cable from now on will be checked before installed.

Power station for district three.

Digitrax LT1. 
When loco-net cables are assembled correctly and there is a throttle plugged into the loco-net there will be four LEDs that light up. The LT1 is also used to check Digitrax decoders to make sure they are good to go before installed in a locomotive.

That about does it for this post. If you are enjoying the Blog, please comment and let me know.

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Saturday, July 25, 2020

What I've Been Up To Update

    I decided I better flex my fingers a little bit and post to the blog what I have been up to lately. With the COVID 19 situation the world is going through now, things are progressing on the C&RGC Railroad.
    Track laying for the Yrbi branch has been completed except for the town of Yrbi itself and the branch interchange where the branch leaves the main at Yrbi Jct in Duran. Yes, I have also decided on some city/block names for the railroad and plan on posting a schematic of the railroad showing the names and locations in the near future. I'm in the process of obtaining structures for Yrbi to help me decide on track placing. Yrbi will be the site for a large grain facility.

    Over the past few months I have divided the railroad into electrical districts. Each district will entail the upper and lower section of the railroad for that district. I have divided the railroad into four districts. Over the last several months I have been wiring the districts to a central location for each. also I have been wiring track feeds and providing wiring for track detection for signaling minus the controls for signaling, that will come latter which will entail things that I'm not quite up on at the moment, and where the learning curve will be huge I assure you. Wiring is a tedious process and well???.....just wiring, nothing exciting, and unfortunately, for the most part, not very picture worthy. So far I have district 1 and 2 fully wired to their respective command/booster stations. District 3 is wired but not to the booster station yet because I have not purchased the two remaining boosters needed for district 3 and 4. These districts are the upper level of the railroad wired as I don't have any track installed yet on the bottom level.

    Along with working on the railroad I have been installing decoders in locomotives and assembling a car or two. I've been collecting GP30s, my favorite EMD locomotive model, in different road names and installing decoders and lights in them along with replacing the dreaded cracked axle gears that older Proto 2000 Locomotives are famous for. So far I have DRGW, CNW, NYC, PRR, ATSF, Nickel Plate, B&O, with sound, got a steal on that one, and a BN in the near future, a one to one trade with a good friend of mine. Thats about it for this post. I know, not a very exciting post, but like I said wiring is just...well, wiring, not too interesting.

Power station for district 1.

Power station for district 2.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Yrbi Branch

The Yrbi branch started as a track that ascended away from the main line at what will now be called Yrbi Junction. It was going to loop back and run against the north wall of the layout room above the cities of Denver and Salt Lake staging tracks. It was then to curve and move along the east wall of the layout room above the mainline. From there it would cross the mainline and the drill tracks for Santa Fe yard and feed a few industries inside the loop at a higher elevation on the peninsula encircled by the arrival departure tracks. As I thought about this over several months while working on the town of Summit, I decided to abandon this plan as the top level of the layout is a little excessive in height, which was a mistake in planning and progress on the layout has gone too far to fix. So it was decided more height was not the way to go. It is planned that a local will run between Yrbi and Yrbi Junction to set-out/pickup cars at the branch interchange tracks, at Yrbi Junction, which will be dropped off by mainline through freights.

The next set of photos shows Yrbi branch raised sub-roadbed, risers, and the section of sub-roadbed that ran above the cities of Denver and Salt Lake staging tracks, all of which have been removed.

Future north end of summit to the left.

The next three photos show the old sub-roadbed above the two staging tracks with the mainline closest to the camera. This is the north wall of the layout room and the wall in the back ground of the third picture is the east wall. As mentioned before the sub-roadbed and it's supports have been removed.

The next set of photos shows the Yrbi branch as it is today with continued construction as well as future construction. The sub-roadbed from Yrbi junction around the curve just had the risers removed and attached to the grid work thus the holes that were cut in the cork to allow access to the screws. The long section of tangent sub-roadbed was relocated just to the right of the main and attached to the grid work. Fortunately the cork was not glued down all the way on this section which made for easier disassembly.

As seen in this photo is the turnout for future branch interchange tracks and maybe a wayside industry or two. I'm also thinking of maybe constructing a wye to turn the local locomotive in the area behind the camera. Some extra thought needs to be given to this as I'm undecided at the moment.

The track will extend here and loop around and above the outer edge of the helix.

This will be Yrbi. A large grain elevator and maybe some type of mill with a wye if room allows.

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