JenTown Railroad

An N Scale Model Railroad

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Introduction

This is an N Scale model railroad layout built to fit inside of a small cabinet. A push button raises the layout from the inside of the cabinet so that it can be worked on or to see the trains run. The layout can be lowered back down into the cabinet when not in use and the cabinet lid closed over the layout. Linear actuators are used to raise and lower the layout. This is a DCC layout that is controlled from a laptop computer running software designed for this purpose. The goal is build a cityscape with light rail trams which run predetermined schedules of stops. The trams are all to be controlled by the computer software. A third feature that makes this layout unique is that there will be a second level to the layout. An elevated structure built of girders and beams will encircle the layout. While none of these features are common, they have all been done before. What makes this layout unique is bringing all three of these elements into the same layout.

Latest News

5/1/2013 After Many Delays

The 2012 Christmas Season brought many distractions and delays. Once past all that I was able to make some significant progress on the JenTown Railroad. I upgraded the Train Controller Software from Version 7 to Version 8. I was able to finish a couple of buildings. And (drum-roll) I was able to complete the support structure that will become the elevated level. (read more...)



10/15/2012 Lighting is Started

I could have just stuck some lights along the street and in the buildings and it would have looked really great. But I didn't do that. No, I did way better than that. I found a board that connects to a USB port on your computer and allows you to control each individual light programmatically. The board is called a Phidget LED-64 as each board can control 64 individual lights. I must say that this has been the most fun I have had so far with this entire project. This board is fantastic! So far I have been able to achieve three different effects with these lights and I have just scratched the surface of what is possible using this board. (read more...)



The Challenge

All my kids love Ikea, I do too! One day my oldest daughter sent me a link to Ikea Hackers that showed where a guy named Steffen had won an award for building a small model train set inside of an Ikea coffee table. Attached to the link my daughter had added "You should do something like this." As this seemed to be a great way to keep the cats from destroying my layout and she had issued a challenge, it was game on. (read more...)

Early Construction

On a dare from my daughter, I had formulated a goal of building a N Scale layout inside of a piece of Ikea furniture. The layout will be DCC and computer controlled. The layout will rest atop 2 linear actuators and raise and lower on a frame inside of the cabinet. The layout itself will attach to the frame with 2 hinges at the back. The hinges will allow the layout to open like the hood of a car so I can work on the track elements that are underneath the layout. (read more...)

Electrical

The goal was to build a N scale DCC, computer controlled small layout inside of an Ikea cabinet. So far, the cabinet has been built, the track has been laid and tested. It works. That's good but it had to get power from some kind of control system and so far there hasn't been much attention to this aspect. Until now, the electrical parts have just been thrown together and tucked away out of sight. It's a mess and clearly this will not work. It's bad enough already, but there is a lot more electrical equipment to install. Here's a photo of what it looks like at this point. (read more...)

Later Construction

The track is down and working well. The electrical components have been secured under the layout in a manner that makes them easy to access and work on when needed. The entire layout is controlled from the computer. I feel like I have achieved my goal. But there is no scenery yet. So now it's time to start working on that. (read more...)

Current Status


This video shows the current state of construction. If you would like to just watch the train go around, this is a good video to watch. If you want to see something seldom seen in model trains, watch the next one as well.



This video shows how the layout rises up to the top of the cabinet to run the train, can be raised further to work on and then can be lowered back down into the cabinet for storage. (learn more...)


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