Status from the layout on 29.12.03:

Tonight I have had some visitors on the layout. They all, me included, had a good time running trains on my little empire. On left, Tor Olav(7) running train, and sister Anne Marit(5) waiting to take the trottle. Father Gunnar, who is employed in Norwgian Railroad and repairing trains, is supervising the action.

Status from the layout on 28.12.03:

The last Christmas days have given me some time to continue the work on the layout. The bridge is now installed, and the foundation for the different part of the landscape is started to be installed. There are still some testing going on about which buildings that should be used and the final configuration of the whole scene. I need some more buildings, to create the brick/city/industrial feeling that I want.

Status from the layout on 15.12.03:

There is very little done on the layout in the last weeks. Christmas is soon coming and I was checking the old Christmaslayout, but it was all destroyed stored in the attick since last Christmas. The warm summer had melted the old house, so I created a new small layout tonight, that could be used for Christmas. It is only a length of Peco flextrack, soldered together and glued to a capafix board. Very small radius and a nice little scene.

Status from the layout on 21.11.03:

Slow progress, but the turntable is now installed and near all wires have been soldered to the different pieces of track and connected together on some centrally placed solderpoints. Here the wiring to the controller equipment will be connected.
On the top left picture, you can see 2 of the Hoffman switchmotors and the turntable from below.
On the two lower pictures, you can see 2 typical scenes from the layout. When the layout is finished, it will be even better, with buildings, trees, etc. On the turntable the AZL E8, with a Märklin steam engine and a F7 in the enginehouse. On the right track, the F7 with many cars is running through the station.

Status from the layout on 27.10.03:

The new tracks are completed, expect for the track to the tourntable and the roundhouse. The tourntable is installed. Some kitbashing has been done on the roundhouse. Because of small space, three of the sections are made shorter, one of the roofs are removed on each section. You can see the difference in the plasticcolors, so all need to be painted and weathered. All turnouts are Wright tournouts, expect for one new curved turnout. Now I need to upgrade the drawing of the layout, so the drawing is "as built".

Status from the layout on 25.10.03:

The development of the layout is a dynamic and never ending process. After my visit last weekend to Eurospoor 2003 in Holland, I bought 2 roundhuses and an used turntable on the exhibition. Originally I planned to use onle one roundhouse with 3 doors, but now I have 2, with 6 doors. But not enough space, so I need to redesign part of the layout so I can fit all items into the limited space.
I need to redo some of the tracks. I also got an idea from Jeffrey Machan, when I saw his great layout on Eurospoor last week. (See the album here) He had narrowed his roundhouse, so the roundhouse will fit closer to the turntable. I cut of 6 mm on each side, a total of 12 mm. That brought the front of the enginehouse 45 mm closer to the turntable.
The left picture shows the tracks already in place. 2 hours later, the right picture, new roadbeds and some testtrack to see if everything fits together with the partially build roundhouse and the turntable.

Status from the layout on 16.10.03:

The planning of the layout continues. The schematics for the interchange are revised to be simplified. It turns up to be only 2 major circuits, with the position of two of the turnouts giving the polarity for the different parts of the track. Turnout 2 sets the polarity in the interchange track and turnout 4 set the polarity for the right part of the diagram. The number of gaps in the tracks are also reduced by one. The new diagram can be seen to the right.
All 5 turnouts have also been set up with motors from Hoffmann. The mechanical testing are not finished, but it looks good. The electrical connections are not complete yet, but the wiring is under construction.
One system to use to control the layout, is WinDigiPet. I have created the first version of the trackdiagram with this product. Here you can see the total numbers of tracks and turnouts on the layout. A demo of the product can be found on the site for WinDigiPet.

Status from the layout on 06.10.03:

Now I have installed the interchange and glued the ballast on all track in place, so it start to be ready. You will also see a similar scene on the top right picture, as the one I have created in 3rd planit and put online on 25.02.03. The bridge has been set up to test the placement. Some buildings have also been set up to test how it could be in the future.
I have also included a copy of the schematics for the interchange. The text is in norwegian on the drawing, but you will see all the different connections necesarry to get this complicated interchange to work properly.
In total there are about 30 connections and 14 gaps/insulations in the tracks. Turnout 2 will control the power on the interchange rails and there will be 4 different routes to select, each route will set the correct polarity on the different pieces of track and set the turnouts in correct position. The actual controller for this need to be developed a little more. I have not decided to use pushbuttons or other hardware to set up the routes. A small PIC-processor could handle this very easy, so that may be the solution?
A few days ago I installed one turnoutmotor from Hoffmann in Germany on one of the turnouts. I ordered only one for a test and it seems to work very well. They are very samll and much cheaper then the Tortoise motor. This cost only about 10$ each. I have ordered 10 more and I am waiting for the turnoutmotor MWA02 to be received in the post in a few days. I will come back to the installment of this motors and give you more info later.

Status from the layout on 16.09.03:

Tonight the first run on the interchange has been done. See the short video from the layout here in Windows Media Format:

The first run on the InterChange

The interchange is now near finished. All wires are connected, all rails are painted, and it was time for the first testrun on the interchange. Both tracks works fine, in the video you can see the curved track with some action.

Status from the layout on 08.09.03:

Tonight I have near finished the interchange. Near all pieces are in place and its soon ready for painting and electrical hookup. The trains are running well over the interchange, so it seems to work. A peace of a printed circuit board, is the basement for the tracks. They are glued to the baseplace with epoxy. All tracks are soldered together to keep good electrical contact. The basement copper and the rails are cut on different places where it should be no eletrical contact. The current routing will be handled with switsches on one of the turnoutmotors, so the correct polarity is maintained on the different pieces of track.

Status from the layout on 07.09.03:

Finally the 8 Wright Turnouts arrived 2 days ago and I could start the work with the main area on the section, the interchange with 5 turnouts and a crossing. The turnouts are really nice and are much better looking than the original Märklin turnouts. The first picture shows the 8 turnouts, the next is an overview of the interchange, with 5 turnouts and a crossing. The crossing in the last picture, need to be build from scratch. The installed rails are only used as guides to get the correct angles and sizes needed to construct the crossing from 2 pieces of track.

Status from the layout on 05.08.03:

Tonight I have finished the hidden station because I have got the Peco tracks from England. 3 turnouts are also installed. Now I am waiting for the Wright Turnouts to arrive, so I can finish all trackwork on the section. On the right picture you can see some new cars from MZZ I have got: The green Chevrolet and 2 Ford Eiffel's. Between the F7 and the cars, one of my newest models, the nice Märklin #88812 Chesapeake & Ohio steam engine with caboose.

Status from the layout on 18.07.03:

Finally some more work have been done on the layout again, after a long time without any progress. Today I have started to lay tracks and turnouts after near all the corkbed were installed. I have ordered 7 Wright Turnouts and some Peco flextrack from The Signal Box in UK today. I hope I will receive this soon, so I can complete the layout. All visible turnouts expect for one curved turnout, will be Wright Turnouts. All hidden turnouts are from Märklin. Some curved tracks are Märklin sectional track, all other are Peco flextrack. All Wright Turnouts will be driven with Tortoise motors. The right image shows the part of the layout that are under construction.

Status from the layout on 26.06.03:

In the development of the crossing and the layout, I needed the dimensions on the different tracktypes available. Here you can see my measurements for Märklin, Peco and MicroTrains track for Z-scale.

Status from the layout on 18.06.03:

I have just put together a short video from the layout that you can watch here in Windows Media Format:

My little Z-scale Empire

The original shooting are from february 2003, but there have been few changes on the layout since then.

Status from the layout on 02.06.03:

On the new part there will be a scratchbuild crossing. I need to find out how to build this crossing, one rail is straight, the other is curved. This part of the layout will be one of the most interesting parts, with 4 lines going in different directions. But the progress on the building is slow.
On the right you can see the detailed drawing of the crossing, using Märklin track.

Status from the layout on 03.03.03:

Tonight all plywood for level 0 mm and 35 mm are cut are glued together. All necesarry girders are in place. The only missing plywood now is the single line track on level 150 mm going from one end to the another on the section. The room was also cleaned tonight, after a busy saturday and sunday working on the layout. On the picture you can also see the section with the big trestle, staying on the floor in the lower left corner.
The buildings set out on the plywood are only an example of buildings that could be used. Multifloor brick buildings will be the majority of bulding in the downtown area on level 35 mm. The tracklayout has also been changed a little. To reduce the grade from level 0 to 35, the track between the levels was made longer. The height for the second level was also fixed to 35 mm.

Status from the layout on 27.02.03:

The framework for the third section begin to find the final shape. Tonight the zero level plywood was cut and installed to the framework. Alle major parts are now mounted. Next step will be to install the inforcement from front to back.
Over the new section you can see the near finished section 2.

Status from the layout on 25.02.03:

The last weeks have been used to redesign the last section, the middle part not build yet. I would like to create a downtown scene, with many big brickbuildings, creating a skyline type of wall. Because of the high difference between the mainlevels, 150 mm, I created a new level, between 0 and 150. This new level will contain a new mainstation, and hiding behind and under the 150 mm level, there will be a big storagestation. On the drawing to the right, the light green part is on level 0, the major scene on this level is a complicated crossing making a nice scene. The brown part, the middle level, with the new station and the hidden stationarea.
Today I bought some plywood and started to cut and glue the plywood together. Very soon you will see some more pictures, showing the progress.

A scene from 3DPlanit, showing the complicated crossing on level 0 and the high bridge in the background on level 150 mm. It is low detail, but show how the scene will look like when it is finished.

Status from the layout on 05.02.03:

See the new pictures with Casey Jones:

Status from the layout on 26.01.03:

Today my Little Empire RR, my wife and myself, have been pleased with a visit the whole way from Spring, Texas, USA, when the President & C.E.O of Golden Blackhawk & Central City RR, David I. George, came for a short sunday night visit. Also Mr. Heine Pedersen, the president of the "TableTop RR" joined us, for a very interesting and inspirational evening, discussing z-scale, looking at a lot of photos from David's layout, running trains on the Little Empire RR and to eat a wonderful dinner created by my wife, the queen of the Little Empire RR. A very tasteful trout with chocolate pudding for dessert and apple pie and ice for the late coffe.

From left: The empiror himself, and David and Heine, in front of the Little Empire RR.

The queen of the Little Empire RR, Torunn, has joined the group for coffe, applepie and ice.
David arrived into Oslo yesterday, with a group of 160 skientusiast from Texas, heading for 5 days in Lillehammer on monday and some wonderful days with downhill skiing in the Norwegian mountains. I was glad that he found time to visit me and also that Heine was able to join us.
We met through the z_scale group on yahoo. These email groups are wonderful to get new friends and to get together. I have the great feeling that I have friends all over the world because of this Z-scale hobby.

Status from the layout on 24.01.03:

Tonight I setup the train to take a few picture of an area that is near finished. On the left picture you can see the PennZee hoppers on the lower track, entering the station and the mine with a single MicroTrains F7 Union Pacific in front. On the upper track, the Union Pacific freight with an Märklin F7 A+B+A, is soon entering the tunnell and the helix in the closet. Some detailing are still to be done, but the layout start to look as I want. Hope you also enjoy it.

Link to extra wide picture: 1200 pixel wide

Link to extra wide picture: 1200 pixel wide

Status from the layout on 21.01.03:

Tonight I have finished all the six trees and planted them. Also the area in front of the station is finished with road and grass. Some detailing are still to be done.
I guess that the trees have not been so bad, specially the right tree in the picture. In the back, you can see the Santa Fe E8 A from American Z Line, and to the left you can see a small piece of the Micro Structures station.
I will take some more pictures when all are a little more finished. Tonight, you can only see the new trees because I save something for later.

Status from the layout on 17.01.03:

Tonight I have build trees from scratch for the layout. It take some time, so I only finished 6 trees. They are made from lamp copperwire, soldered together. In the picture you can see them painted, the brown is finished and the white should also have some black color. The boxcar is a Micro-Train Z-scale car. The trees can soon be finished, only the green parts are missing.
Some more painting has been done tonight on other buldings on the layout. Slow progress, but a little at a time.

Status from the layout on 15.01.03:

A new year and new options. There has been slow speed on the building last months, but finally I have build the stationbuilding for the layout. Its the brass kit #1010 from MicroStructures. It will be a nice little model when it is finished. Final painting is still to be done.
Since last report I have done some detailing, with plants, etc. More pictures will follow soon.

Kit #1010 Train Station