What do you do when you have a railroad next to an unheated and semi-open staging yard? Well, Dave Houseman solved the problem when he wanted to run trains from the regular layout room into an adjacent utility space that was sort of open to the elements, including bugs. Here at the Newport scene on the Chicago, Denver & Pacific the solution at first was not quite so obvious.
But as it turns out the solution involved a paint brush that moves. The bristles of the brush seal the track to the staging yard from temperature changes and crawly varmints.
A signal was needed to let the operator know when the brush curtain was up or down. That meant that it was safe to enter or exit the hidden staging yard. Red means the brush is down, and green means the brush is up.
Here is the 6-track staging yard located directly behind the Newport scene on the other side of the wall in the unheated utility room.
A regular turnout motor moves the brush and the hinged wooden frame that it is attached to.
Dave wanted to make the work of the motor easier, so he added a pulley system and some lead weights below the benchwork.
A toggle switch located in the fascia at Newport controls the movement of the brush. Dave also added a closed-circuit camera that focuses on the tracks.
The two micro switches control the movements of the motor, so it doesn’t keep moving the brush curtain. The top switch is closed when the door blocks the track. The bottom switch is open when the track is clear and unobstructed.