Our Exhibition Layout is a traditional 'dog bone' shape and is made up of seven 6'-0" by 2'-6" modules. To accomodate the 27" radius curves in the track at each end, two modules are connected on their long sides, while all the others are connected at their ends.
The 'Wall' and 'Mill' modules are 'carrier' modules made of plywood on a 2" x 4" spruce base. The bases have 2" castors secured to the underside that lets us roll the modules over reasonably smooth surfaces. The 'table' modules slide onto strips of wood secured to the inside walls of the carrier modules. Our current configuration allows us to carry three table modules in one carrier and two in the other.
There are no plans to enlarge the exhibition layout at this time, but should we ever do so, we could build one more 6'-0" carrier module which would be able to carry two table modules. This would make our exhibition layout 48' long, although likely a 'J' shape. There are curently no plans to do so, so it isn't going to happen any time soon, but the need to create something is strong in most of us and who knows what will happen when we've more or less finished the clubhouse layout!
To set up the layout, which takes about 45 minutes, the carriers and table modules 'hook' together with French Cleats which ensures the tracks on adjacent modules are level relative to one another. We insert dowels through the frames of adjacent modules to lock them together laterally and vertically. Legs that slot into the underside of the table modules have adjustable feet so we can align all modules in a horizontal plane, with no peaks or valleys in the rails where modules join one another.
The drawing above shows a carrier module. The two short sides of the end modules hook into the French Cleats on the carrier module. The height of the scenery on the table modules that slide into the carriers is dictated by the spacing between them when stored.
We can provide construction drawings for our exhibition layout modules on request.
The 14ga. power buses are connected at each module with a standard 4-pin trailer hitch. The track on each module was left 3" short of the module end. To make the connection we use lengths of straight track, exactly six inches long, with 16ga wire soldered on the outside of each rail at both ends. When the modules are clamped together we simply snap these connector tracks to the permanent track on each module. A slight bending of the 16ga wire can provide some vertical and horizontal re-alignment relative to the adjacent fixed track as necessary.
The communication cable, essential for carrying the DCC signal from the DCC Command Station to all of the track and then to the locomotives is a flat 6-wire telephone line that plugs into jacks below the layout.Train Control
We use the Digitrax 'Super Chief'© Digital Command Control (DCC) system and have seven 'Loconet'© communication ports around the layout where tethered (wired) throttles can be plugged in, plus a receiver for wireless throttles. We added a 5‐amp booster in 2012 and electrically divided the layout into two halves. This allows us to put more locomotives on the layout without tripping the thermal breakers and keeps one half of the layout running if there's an electrical short caused by a derailed locomotive or freight car on the other half. The Command Station provides power to the Westville and Easton modules and half of the Centreville module, while the booster looks after the Mill, Smarts, Endoline and other half of the Centreville modules.
Peter Shelton has implemented a project (JMRI) to control locomotives from tablets and smart phones using either iOS or Android operating systems, as well as wired and wireless throttles. You can find more details about this on our Technical Page.Industries
The Endoline module is home to the town of Endoline (surprise, surprise!) and besides the station, includes a freight warehouse, a repair shop and a single track yard.
Smarts &(Mr. Smart is the most important and influential businessman in town) owns an abattoir, a warehouse with two loading docks, an oil storage facility and a holding track. Messrs. Burns, Thomson and Jones, who lease buildings from Mr. Smart, also rely on the railway to transport goods and materiel to and from their premises.
The 'Mill' module is where a small timber mill is located and produces about a flatcar load of dimensional lumber every day.
The 'Wall' module is the only one without an industry on it, but is essential for the switching of freight cars for the industries in both Westville and Easton. The dominant feature of this module is the rock wall that separates the east and west sides, hence the module name. One of our favourite questions to visitors is to ask them what they think the wall is made of. Very few answer, "Ceiling tile."
Easton is home to the Easton Mine which has two tipple tracks and a slack loader. One of the tipple tracks can actually dump coal into hopper cars from above. There is also an interchange track on this module.
Westville has a power station, oil terminal and a vinegar factory, plus a single interchange track. Coal for the power station is automatically unloaded from the hopper cars through the track to an imaginary below-grade conveyer belt.
Centrepoint Freight House and Centrepoint Fuel, a small fuel transfer yard, are situated on the Centre Module.