Tips and Techniques used in building the Jersey Subdivision

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After being away from model railroading for over 20 years one thing that became obvious was how much the hobby had changed.  Also, in building the Jersey Subdivision, I decided to take my time and enjoy learning new ways of doing things.   I'll continue to update this page as I learn new tips and techniques 

Backdrop and Clouds    

My old layout never had a backdrop.  For the Jersey Subdivision I decided to try making a backdrop and then adding some simple clouds.  The backdrop is made of 1/8" hardboard.  It is 24" high and I chose to use precut 24"x48" panels.  The panels are screwed to the wall with 1" drywall screws that are countersunk.  I used regular joint compound to cover the holes and with tape, seal the seems.  For the clouds, I chose the cloud kit from Home Depot.  Click here for more details.

Truss Bridge Modification

When I purchased the Walthers Double Truss Bridge kit, it was before I had decided to have intermodal traffic.  After purchasing an Athearn doublestack, I realized that it would not fit through the Walthers bridge.  So I decided to modify it. I am happy with the results.  Click here to see the modification process. .  

Lighting and DCC

During the construction I got the DCC bug and purchase the Digitrax Superchief Radio system.  About the same time I started on my first structures and buildings.  I decoded I wanted to have DCC control of lighting, have it powered from its own power supply and not draw power from the track.  I also wanted a variety of outputs with 12VDC for the control panels, switched on/off 14VDC for exterior building and yard lighting and variable brightness 0-14VDC for the interior of buildings.  I designed a circuit which would do all three.  Click here for details.

Control Panels

I designed the Jersey Subdivision with two control panels, one on each side of the layout.  The reason was to keep the bus runs shorter and to provide a nice place to operate the layout from.  The first panel was built with DC in mind and has toggle switches for turnout control.  The second panel was built the same except it was designed for DCC.  The difference is that the turnout toggle switches have been replaced with DS64 stationary decoders from Digitrax.  All turnout wiring was wired with CAT5 cable and 66 blocks.  Click here for details.



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