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Kris

New Railway... Story so far

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First, great forum, it's been a huge help when I have lurked anonymously!

Second, thanks to Mick for allowing me on after I was apparently blacklisted :shock:

The story so far... I have a train-obsessed 5 year old but no space indoors to build a layout for him, so I went outside. Unfortunately it was on the condition from the Garden Planning Officer that I replaced the back fence and 'did something' with the boggy corner of the garden, so one new back fence and a garden deck later, here I am!

I'm still going round bonding the joints on the Code 100 Peco track, and and none of it has been fixed down yet which is why some bits look a bit wonky, but I managed to get a loco to run all the way round the main part which was encouraging 8-)

I will be controlling the whole setup with a Raspberry Pi and a Sprog 3, which I have got 90% working (I'm only 10% infuriated and frustrated with it!) I'll be finishing it bit by bit over the next week or so, I'll keep updating.

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Welcome to the forum Kris and....

Kris said:

...thanks to Mick for allowing me on after I was apparently blacklisted....

... don't worry. You're not the first and I doubt you'll be the last but as you discovered, it only takes an email to sort things out. If any other reader finds themselves unable to register on the forum due to their IP address being blacklisted then just drop me an e-mail to admin (at) oogardenrailway.co.uk

Nice to see you've got some solid weatherproof foundations down. I would suggest that you make sure the base is as level as can be before fixing the track in place. Don't allow the track to undulate - even if loco's or rolling stock can run over without derailing you'll probably find you have trouble with stock becoming uncoupled. Track really does need to be as perfectly flat as possible if you're to achieve optimum performance and minimal frustration. Spending time now will save a lot of heartache later.

What are you and your sons interests with regards locomotives? Will the layout be diesel or steam based or perhaps a combination of the two?

The Raspberry Pi is becoming increasingly popular for controlling all kinds of situations of late but I do believe you're the first member on here to use one in conjunction with the operation of their railway layout. I'm familiar with the Sprog 3 so assume the Raspberry Pi simply replaces a normal PC.

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Thanks Mick

Thanks for the prefixing advice! Anything that causes frustration is well avoided, learn from others' experience is what I always say! I have some conservatory glazing silicone ready to attach the track to the base, it's like jelly and completely weatherproof, which means I should be able to level the track quite nicely. If anyone else has a better suggestion please tell me before I cover my garden in goo!

With regards to interest, it's mainly high speed trains. I absolutely love the old Inter City 125 in the original blue grey livery and I have 2 Lima locos that I am restoring. The boy just loves anything fast so I have a Eurostar for him and he also loves the Javelin. the highlight of half term was a trip to see the trains going by on HS1! I do also have an Airfix class 31 that I rescued from a shop and am about to customise.

On the subject of the Raspberry Pi, it's absolutely brilliant! It's just that there are 1 or 2 glitches that i cannot iron out (such as being able to open and run the software from my ipad or phone) but other than that, yes it just replaces the pc for £20.

Looking forward to getting more involved with the forum, hopefully I can offer some help rather than begging for it...

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Kris,

Good to see another new starter on here......i'll be following with interest. Especially keen to hear about the issues with the raspberry pi as I have one kicking around unused and I fancy some experiments with wireless dcc.

Cheers

Gareth

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Gareth

The Raspberry Pi works straight out of the box. I downloaded JMRI and it recognises the Sprog over a USB connection. With a £5 wifi dongle it connects to my ipad running withrottle and job done.

The only problem I'm having is that I can't seem to get software to run from startup, which means I have to connect it to a screen in order to get it operating. Ideally I want it to run 'headless' and put the Pi in an enclosure with the Sprog and all power supplies and plug it all in outside but at the moment it's not happening. I think it's something to do with root access but I'm still trawling through Linux forums to fry and work it out.

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Kris that's great! I'm away from home for a few days but ill have a play when I get home. I have no current experience of dcc and the sprog looks like a.great way to achieve the aim at low cost. Initially I'm planning on straight radio control but dcc does offer some intriguing opportunities and I really want to have a play with sound at some point so some kind of hybrid is ideal.

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garethep said:

I have no current experience of dcc

Me neither... :D I'm quite a "chuck it in and see what floats" type so let's see what happens in the days ahead!

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I don't have much to add except I am enjoying the images and am curious to hear how the Raspberry pi works out with your control.

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The glazing sealant works a treat - it hasn't set yet but it holds the track solid while allowing adjustments. It's designed to hold conservatories together so I reckon it'll be ok!

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Keep an eye on it as I have a feeling that when the concrete gets damp the bond will release. Hope I'm wrong though!

Someone on here used "Gorilla Glue" to bond track to masonry. Check out Jaybees Railway in Members Garden Railways.

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I've used exterior grade 'gripfill' type adhesive on the parapet walls of both my viaducts. It bonds really well and is nice and solid during dry weather. Once it gets wet it becomes pliable and you can waggle the walls from side to side although it still holds firm. Goes solid again once everything dries up. Isn't 'waggle' a strange term?

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it chucked it down with rain here last night, and the track was rock solid this morning.

I had to reset one of the loop sections as I had set the radius too tight, and it took a bit of force to get the track to come away from the concrete, but what happens after a month of torrential rain remains to be seen!

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It could well be fine Kris, don't worry.

I have no practical experience of bonding track to concrete using silicone.

Ian.

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It has held solid for another few days of horrendous weather so I am quite confident it will be ok, although after last night's wind I may get home and the shed is on top of it! It ripped the roof off my neighbour's extension, launched it over his house and destroyed his 2 Mercedes and his black taxi!

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Back to the drawing board on the looped sections - they have completely fallen to pieces! They had stable foundations and were deep enough, but I think it's my choice of concrete that's the problem. I went for 'postcrete' for convenience, but it looks like the wrong choice as it's cracked every 6 inches and is starting to resemble a bomb site :roll:

I have a different idea - I'll update how it's going, good or bad!

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I have now replaced the first loop section with bricks embedded in concrete. Looks rock solid now! I'll add some photos once I've tidied it up a bit.

I also gave up on using flex track as the loop in this section is so tight - I'm right on the limit for 1st radius with my available space, and the temptation was to bend it a bit tighter and grab a few more mm of space here and there. The result was derailed trains, no matter what I tried and how many times I tried to reshape it! I have replaced it with a mix of 1st and 2nd radius set track sections, and so far so good. The Hornby Eurostar is very sensitive to tight bends and only just copes with 1st radius, and runs nicely.

I can also happily report that I have managed to get the Raspberry Pi to run successfully in headless mode, and I can both control it from my phone and iPad without monitor and mouse, and JMRI runs perfectly once you give it time to boot up. I am reinstalling everything at the moment and taking photos as I go - if anyone's interested I could knock up a quick tutorial showing how I did it. There are methods out there, but none of them worked for me until I changed the operating system.

Looking forward to actually running a train out there soon!

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I'll put a PDF together of all the steps once I've ironed out all the bugs - I'll upload it here in a few days if I can

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Just tried to upload a guide to get the Raspberry Pi running JMRI for wireless control - the forum won't accept PDF! Mick...? What formats will the forum let me submit?

cheers

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