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Many of you know, I'm a tried and true modern diesel fan.. My collection is 95% diesel. That being said, the garden layout that I want is gonna require a lot of track (and money), a lot of work, and a lot of time. All three are commodities that are running a bit low for me right now. I have the space, but that's it. I've been dying to get my train fix on a regular basis.. A few months ago, Melony suggested that I put a small layout in the coffee table in the front room. We'd seen it before in magazines and she thought it would be neat since it just sits empty most of the time. She's put some scrapbook pages in there, but that's about it. Far be it from me to argue with my wife, so I went about looking at what the possibilities were.. Melony wanted me to do an N scale layout, but i wasn't interested in the really small trains that I figure would get knocked off the track easily when the coffee table was kicked or jumped on or what not. HO was out because the majority of HO equipment oddly enough won't take the sharp curves that will have to be in the layout. On30 has really intrigued me for a long time. I'm generally not narrow minded, but there was something about a small industrial type line that really spoke to me. I've settled on a small mine operation. There will be a small loop with a passing siding. About a third of the coffee table will be inside the mine, and the rest will be outside the mine. I'll work up a track plan soon and post it.

While I was in Las Vegas at the St Aubin open house, I picked up a small Davenport and 3 side dump ore cars. I had Mark ship them up for me so I didn't have to explain to security what a model train was. Just didn't even want to bother with it. They arrived today. I wanted to give them a quick test run, so I went out to the garage and dug out a loop of old HO track and transformer and set them up on the kitchen table. The twins were immediately intrigued. Aside from the polar express around the Christmas tree, I don't think they've ever seen my trains running. I took the opportunity to snap a couple photos.



Becca was thrilled to watch the small mining train circle around the table. She kept raising her hand up in the air to pull the whistle cord down and yelling "woot woot!" Not sure why Celia's trying to smack her.


Jilly was so interested that she climbed up on the table to watch.. Most of the time she sat there with her chin in her hands watching, but once I got the camera out, she decided to ham it up. I love this shot, it really shows her bubbly personality.



This is the mining train's new home before the remodeling job. The drawer measures 19 1/4" X 36 1/4" x 4" deep. The loco fits in nicely. I'll need to find a good base that I can build on top of that will be sturdy, yet thin enough to not take up too much of the valuable vertical space. My goal is to make it so that if one day, the wife decides she doesn't want the layout in there anymore, I can return it to its original state. There is another drawer underneath that can house the controller, any spare rolling stock I accumulate, and anything else that would be needed. I plan on making small holes in the bottom of the drawer to put wires through, and maybe mount some under the table switch machines. I'll have to look into that a little more later. The black liner comes out so there is bare wood. I'll put the liner away in storage.


I plan on using DCC on this little layout. I'd really like to learn the basics of the system for myself. The loco I bought is DCC equipped already. I'll have to track down a basic controller. I can already see the On30 bug biting pretty hard.. I've got my eye on the little 0-4-0 porter and I pulled out my old copies of Model Railroader looking at how I can adapt Jon Allen's old Jerome & Southwestern trackplan to On30. Not sure where I'd put it, but I'm dreaming a little bit.


I'm open to any suggestions you may have.. This is a new adventure for me.. One that will hopefully fulfill my train fix for a while.
 

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Looks like a neat project Shad! I too like the photo of Jilly - she's a real cutie!


For a DCC controller, I suggest you take a look at Prodigy Wireless[/b][/b]. It's a full-featured DCC system in a neat hand-held unit that comes with a base unit/booster and a power supply... nothing additional to buy. It's also made by MRC, a company who, while somewhat new to DCC, has been around making train controllers forever.
 

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My Davenport was used to test any new track work on the late Lake Nipissing Railway. The track laying crew quickly learned that the frogs had to be live for the little 0-4-0 to traverse switches.

When we started, On30 track was impossible to find. I finally came across six lengths of Micro Engineering On30 track at a train show in Syracuse last year. The difference in appearance compared to HO track is dramatic and very pleasing. I would definitely recommend it before buying too much track.
 

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Hi Shad... Thats a great idea.. So should be able to put a lot of "N" gage in or something like that also.

Here is what we done.......... Ours table is 30 " w. X 6 foot long. We didn't have the hight to run any On 30. We wanted to do like what your are trying to do with a mine layout.
The Coffee table has 3 beveled dark glass that lift out. We made a "N" gage layout and inserted it inside of table frame that 4 screws hold it in. Just incase the wife wants it for someting else... Our table top is about 3 1/2" deep so not much room for anything high in it.
We then install grain of wheat lamp for the lighting around the under side of top so when the transformer is plugged in underneath, it all light up and show the layout up thru the dark glass.





More photo. I see most of the cars was off the tracks.. I haven't ran it for about a couple month now.



/1stclass/noelw/Coffee table r.r/Coffee table r.r. b.jpg

/1stclass/noelw/Coffee table r.r/coffee table r.r. c.jpg

/1stclass/noelw/Coffee table r.r/Coffee table r.r. d.jpg

/1stclass/noelw/Coffee table r.r/Coffee table r.r. e.jpg

Sorry.... about the quick photo and not very good.
Oh and Sorry not having diesels in it when I took off the glass to clean the tracks. I opened it up and darn .... it had a steam Eng. switcher in there. lol

Any way just an idea of what we have done. Great for Xmas run setting.


Noel & Jane..
 
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