Benson Valley railway

Its Christmas 2016 and I have decided to get that n gauge railway down from the top shelf in my den and start building it. I have a small office at the back of my house a good size shelf which could accommodate a railway if I can get the design right. I have had the n gauge set for some time but not got time to fully build a layout. First thing was to measure up and come up with some ideas on what I wanted. I wanted a loop with at least two trains running around and it would be nice to have some sidings. I was also going to theme the railway on the 1940’s around the beginning of the war so I could incorporate the RAF which I was a member of for some years. It will be a fictional railway and i will be calling it Benson Valley after two RAF bases I spent time at. The station in front by the sea will be valley and the main station up the top will be Benson.

Most of the base board was complete but I needed to produce two bridges which would go across both doors to the room. This needs to be removable so people can still use them. I also wanted to run DCC but wanted to keep cost down. I already have some knowledge of Arduinos and Raspberry Pi’s so hope to incorporate them. Running by a computer would be great as I am a computer geek. The main problem I can see with DCC is the fitting of DCC chips into the n gauge locos being so small. But I can’t go OO gauge as the office is too small.

The layout was drawn up using Anyrail which is a great piece of software that saves on drawing out lots layouts to scale. It’s only at the design stage and can be changed. Below is a screen shot of the layout. The two main loops will pass by my computer terminal and will have a station just in front of me. This will be a station for the beach so a beach scene will be created. Around the corner by back door will be a turnout for the clockwise loop to get up to the top layer. This will have a turnaround across to a bigger station and town which will be over the top of the lower loop by the door which is shown below green board and orange track. On the opposite side of the room will be the sidings but as yet this part of the plan has not been completed.

So far, I have laid out the beginning of the lower main lines in front of my desk and I have started a bit on the upper level. My aim at the moment is to work on the DCC system so I know what wiring needs to be in place to build on the layout. I have done some testing with JMRI and getting this to work with an Arduino. My first setup of this can be found here. I then went on to control servo’s and more Arduinos all on one USB wire. So far so good, It’s now the beginning Feb 2018 and I have got one occupied sensor working with a CT transformer connected directly to the Arduino. This was used as the current draw from the n gauge loco was far too small for a ASC712 module. So far this is working on one track as I am still waiting for the CT order to turn up to try more.

Still having trouble getting the DCC decoders into the n gauge locos. I have one decoder fitted to the Graham Farish class 2-6-2 but this is on the outside as I could not get this size decoder internally. These where Laisdcc decoders which are very cheap, work well but are too big for this size loco. I have another Gaugemaster DCC23 to try soon when I get time. For this month I will be concentrating on laying track and the occupied sensors, maybe some turnout control by Arduino would be nice as well. Some pictures of the room and layout started so far are shown below

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