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James Zarnick’s Butler & Western New York   March 30, 2019

Photos and article by Ernie Little, MMR

Saturday March 30th found members of the Potomac Division attending a tour of Jim Zarnick’s Butler and Western New York railroad at his home in Ashburn, Virginia. Thanks to Jim for taking the time to share his layout with the members of the division in attendance.

Jim started construction on this layout in 2013 and is continuing to work on completing the track and scenery. His layout models the modern era using diesel locomotives although he is contemplating having one steam locomotive on the layout at some time in the future.

This HO scaled layout was designed using CADRAIL to be double track with continuous running design. The layout is double-decked, of 12 feet by 35 feet in size, has a helix, and has 225 feet (scale 3.5 miles) of track. The base of the layout is a combination of freestanding platform and support members attached directly to the wall using 1"x4" pine and ½" plywood.

The track bed is a combination of an underlayment material for floors and cork. This combination appeared to work very well for reducing the sound of trains moving across the track. Jim used Micro Engineering flex track for the mainline and sidings on the layout. The main line is code 83, code 100 in the hidden staging area, and code 70 on the sidings and yard. One thing of note is that Jim used caulk, not track nails, to secure his track in place. The switches used on the layout are manufactured by Shinohara and Peco. Jim used Tortoise motors and a few ground throws for switch movement.

The layout uses CTI electronics to control the mainline signaling with JMRI software connected to the NCE operating system to provide track power and control of the locomotives.

The helix is a four level design using ½" plywood and 1"x4" supports. The size of the helix is approximately 5 feet in diameter with 28" and 30" radius curves for the inside and outside track. The grade on the helix appeared to be easily handled by the diesel locomotives.

He chose to use small screws and washers on each side of the rail joiners to secure the track to the roadbed.

An excellent under construction layout and something we will have to revisit in the future to see Jim’s progress.

Last modified: November 09 2019 12:21:19.