2017-2018 10th Annual International Winter Layout Party

ppuinn Dec 17, 2017

  1. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Brad...4 comments on 2 similar workspaces under my lower deck:

    The surface of one space is a salvaged sink countertop (5.5 ft long, 2ft deep; with a 2ftx4ft sheet of Homasote covering the opening for the sink) supported by 2 salvaged wall-mounted kitchen cabinets--12Dx15Wx30H inch at one end and 12Dx30Wx30H inch at the other.
    1. I had to carefully position the cabinets so there was enough space between the cabinets for my knees or to push in a chair.
    2. I plugged in an extension cord, so I wouldn't have to crawl under the countertop every time I wanted to use the wall outlet behind the workspace.

    The other workspace was initially made with a 15x40 piece of Homasote resting on top of a 15Dx40Wx25H bookshelf, which was located against a wall between a corner desk and a 15Dx24Wx30H bookcase.
    3. I didn't like the low level and that the lack of knee space prevented me from drawing my chair close to the work surface.
    So I took a 24x66 inch sheet of Homasote, supported one end on the desk, turned the 30 inch high bookshelf 90 degrees to the wall to support the other end, and stacked some braces on the 25 inch high bookshelf to support the back half of the Homasote.
    4. This arrangement gave me a long working space as well as great knee space, and someplace to store my wheeled stool when I wanted to use the aisle during operating sessions.
     
  2. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    I've made some progress on a few more job descriptions, mostly re-wording things for more clarity, and incorporating suggestions in the worksheets for assigning cars to specific industries. Still need to add some industry labels on the fascia and some signage directly on the structures.

    Friday, I visited a local train shop and bought some turnouts; ordered some trucks and couplers for 10 ancient TRIX cabooses that I'm going to repair, paint, and detail in P&E, CNW, ITC, TPW colors; got a decoder for a SD 40-2; finally ordered some trucks for 2 broken switchers that have been languishing in my "locos to be repaired" drawer; left a third loco for a hard-wired decoder installation, and a fourth loco for repair or replacement of a loose worm gear; determined that I had irreparably botched the installation of a drop-in decoder (and would need to send the decoder to Digitrax for replacement); and got some MTL conversion couplers to replace some Rapido couplers on an older (used) loco I'd picked up at a train show umpty-leven years ago. When I got home, I realized that I had forgotten to buy 4 UP5 panels to finalize repairs/corrections/re-routing of the Loconet cable (which we'd initiated Saturday 1/27 to eliminate an electrical problem)...so I'll probably go back again on Wednesday or Friday.

    Sunday I worked on upgrading trackwork on 2 of our NMRA division's 10 HO modules. Next weekend, we'll put some ballast, roads, trees, shrubbery and grass on them, and the weekend after that, we'll incorporate them in our hands-on operating display for kids (ages 5-95) at a train show in Peoria IL. If I'm feeling especially ambitious, I might try to build some structures for our cityscape module.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  3. sp4009

    sp4009 TrainBoard Member

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    After I finished the track work, I ran through the card cycles a few times and quickly realized the need for more wood chip gons and shifted my focus to freight cars.. No further progress on the layout, but I did get most of my list completed except for the right hand side of the backdrop.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Only minor progress on one of my job descriptions (BN Alley Job), cleaned some track in the BN Peoria Yard and the BN Alley so we can test the Alley Job job description when I finally finish it, finalized installation of 1 UP5 panel but still need to get back down to the train store and get 3 more UP5 panels.
    Spent an hour and 45 minutes traveling to/from Vermont, IL (where our NMRA division modules are stored) on Saturday and again on Sunday to work 10:00 to 4:00 both days on the 2 yard modules and one of the two cityscape modules. The work crew finished re-soldering some re-positioned feeders to yard tracks, installed two crossovers, remounted 8 ground throws in the yard throats and added 4 new ones to the crossovers, and added ballast and some grass/shrubs to the two yard modules. I spent most of my time working on scenery for one of the cityscape modules. A year or so ago, we had put a hill and some trees at one end of the right cityscape module to transition from some sceniced corner modules. One of the other work crew members had ballasted the tracks last week and I had started working on one of the two houses, and a grade crossing. This weekend, I finished putting the road in and got the lanes striped, and put grass and trees and shrubs around the house. Sunday evening I brought the module back home with me and yesterday I added the driveway, tweaked the landscaping around the house, added weeds and grass on both sides of the mainline tracks, and continued working on the grade crossing.

    This is the house on the right side of the right cityscape module...the tree-covered hill behind the house is made of foam and is removable for transporting, and the house and car are also removable. Most of the trees by the house on the flat part of the module, and the driveway and the road are permanent. I still have to adjust the site for the house, so the gap where the house's foundation and the driveway meet is hidden...probably by scraping off the old scenery materials/grass where we positioned the house, sanding the area level, and maybe raising the concrete apron in front of the garage. (I'm not happy with how wrinkled the cardstock driveway turned out, so I may go with foamboard [like the road].)

    This is the grade crossing. The road is 1/4 inch foamboard, spray painted with rattlecan flat gray; the lane stripes are made with colored pencils. I had tried to put in BMLA crossing material, but couldn't get as smooth a transition from road surface to crossing material surface and back to road surface as I wanted, so I cut black cardstock and drew lines on it. The pencils are holding the cardstock down while the glue dries. The drawn lines for the sections of crossing material didn't turn out as nice as I wanted, so I'll probably cut some more card stock rectangles and glue them directly over the drawn rectangles. The far edge of the road (ground foam dirt and then grass) is done. Where the gravel lane by the tracks turns to dirt, I'm going to put some signs and fence posts; and there will be a stop sign onto the road. When the crossing material looks correct, I'll add crossing flashers (probably not working ones, for now) and signal boxes, and a fence along the ROW on the right (aisle) side of the track from the road to about half-way to the far end of the module.

    This week I need to finish the crossing, finish the left side of the road, make a place for the (removable) house-under-construction on the left side of this module, and put appropriate scenery around the construction site. We've talked about putting in a road along the tracks that would extend to the left cityscape module, but haven't made an executive decision, yet. Since we want to have the module ready for our hands-on display (kids and adults get to run trains around an 8x16 foot oval) at a Train Meet next Sunday, Feb 18, I'll probably leave a very lightly sceniced space for the road between the house-under-construction and the tracks.
     
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  5. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Nothing done on the layout since my last post as I have been in the Phoenix, Arizona area for the past week. Did visit a nice Hobby Shop called "An Affair with Trains". Nice selection of N and HO items and they also had a good selection of scratch building items. I picked up some Plastruct structural parts I need to finish the Barite facility. Hopefully within the next few days after getting caught up with things after the trip I can get back to working on the layout.
     
  6. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Dave what you are describing is very similar to what I had planned to do with that maple top for a second work bench. This existing work bench is quite old and is one of the few things I still have from childhood. It was originally one of the fixtures from the original location of a somewhat famous gun shop called Weatherby's in my home town so I think it dates from about 1945. We had a neighbor who worked there and when the shop moved to a new location with all new fixtures sometime in the 1950's the employees split up the old fixtures between them. He used it as a work bench until he retired in the late 60's and gave the bench to my dad. When I bought my first house in 1981 it came to me and since about 1986 has been used exclusively for modeling and electronics work.

    WorkBench1.jpg

    Original builders plate.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
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  7. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Back to normal now after our Arizona trip. Been working on blending the scenery between the Golconda section and the recently added Battle Mountain section. Shown in this first photo is the area around the rear or westbound track. Some rocks, both real and cast plaster, then a layer of sanded grout. Still using a sheet of styrene to protect the back drop. This afternoon I started the ballast for both tracks. First I use N Scale Arizona Rock & Mineral along the edges. When finished this will appear to be older, underlying ballast. After this dries I will use HO scale AR&M products for the top layer.

    2018TBLP42.jpg


    While I was letting the ballast dry I started work on another batch of line side poles. I intend to have poles along both lines on the layout and have been picking up boxes of Atlas poles whenever I can get them at a bargain price at train shows. I make modifications and paint them as detailed in two of my blog posts.

    http://palisadecanyonrr.blogspot.com/2017/03/line-side-poles.html
    http://palisadecanyonrr.blogspot.com/2017/12/line-side-poles-round-2.html


    2018TBLP41.jpg
     
  8. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    How many of those middle poles came in each box? I can use about 25 of them
     
  9. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes I can see how you would. These are perfect for PE private ROW areas.

    I have already cut all of the poles off of the spues but as I recall there are 3 spues with 4 poles each in each box that break down as follows.

    2 -normal
    1 - with trolley wire support
    1 - with transformer

    So for the full box of 12 multiply by 3. Answer = 3 with trolley wire support per box.

    I will check tomorrow to see how many I still have that I have not already cut the trolley wire supports off.
     
  10. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    [​IMG]

    While not quite right, it's close enough
     
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  11. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Over the past few days I finished the ballast for both lines on the connecting tracks between the Battle Mountain and Golconda sections. Also stained the rock castings along the cut for the eastbound / WP line and am almost done with the basic scenery throughout the area. Maybe one more light coat where I can still see some differences between the sections. After that I can start some shrubs. Good sized open country area and I've got some wild horses that I think would like to run here. I would also really like to get the fascia done but have not been able to find any of the old style hard board that is flexible enough.

    2018TBLP44.jpg


    Also finished the batch of line side poles that I had started last Sunday. These will be for the rear or westbound / SP track. I need to start another batch with green insulators for the front track.

    2018TBLP43.jpg
     
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  12. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Before our trip to Arizona we were having almost spring like weather but since we have been back it's been more like our December weather. Wanting to do something more physically active on the layout I decided to visit an independent lumber yard that I had not checked yet for the tempered hard board and hit the jackpot. By evening I had two 4 foot sections of fascia board up. The first one which curves around the inside corner between the Wesso and Golconda sections I used my stapler to hold in place while the glue dried but the next section just got clamped so no staple holes to patch up there.

    2018TBLP45.jpg


    Today the thrid 4 foot section got installed and is being held with clamps as the glue dries. This reaches almost to the end of the Battle Mountain section. Having the fascia done on Battle Mountain means I can get the small control panels for the turnouts done. I guess we are now on the last push as the layout party ends on Sunday.

    2018TBLP46.jpg
     
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  13. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Finished scenery on the HO module on last Saturday and set it up with our 7 other modules at the Peoria Train Meet on Sunday. Lots of kids (and adults) got to spend some time running trains around the 8x16 ft oval.
    I took a break around lunchtime and picked up some N scale gons, tank cars, and 2 CNW cabooses; an HO gondola and a flat car with Caterpillar bulldozer loads; some HO and N loads, 2 HO sheds nicely detailed, some HO details for a gas station, and 3 UP5s.
    For my layout, I got one of the UP5s installed, and a second one started, did some trouble shooting on flickering signal bridge LEDs (wires needed to be soldered), and added labels for tracks and switches in the BN Galesburg Yard, BN Peoria Yard, and BN Alley Tracks. I also made some progress on the job descriptions for operators: finished the job description for Train BN 104 (Galesburg to Peoria), got the BN Yard Switcher and BN Alley Job job description started and the worksheet for assigning cars to the BN Alley Industries about 1/2 done.
    On Monday I played with several switches, trying to find a better track configuration in the BN Peoria Yard that would let me add a caboose track. I've settled on one possibility but it isn't as nice as I'd like, so I've hesitated pulling the trigger.
    Because the ADM plant is now going to be switched by its own dedicated loco, instead of by the PPU Peoria Local, on Wednesday I also spent some time trying to figure out how tracks between the ADM plant and the BN Peoria Yard could be reconfigured to let me add a new siding for a nearby industry, so the Peoria Local still has some switching to do near the ADM plant.
     
  14. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    I made my final push today to complete the fascia That I had installed within the past few days. Here is a shot of the layout as it appears today. Too bad the room is such a mess !

    2018TBLP49.jpg

    Got a coat of gray gloss enamel on the fascia last night so by this afternoon it was good and dry. This shot shows the finished inside corner. Been filling in the edges with drywall mud and will need to touch up the scenery in those areas.

    2018TBLP48.jpg


    Here is the far end as it is now showing each stage of development along the edge - bare bench work, tempered hard board, a coat of primer, then the finish coat.

    2018TBLP54.jpg


    Also got the first of the turnout control panels installed. I had painted the sides of the LED silver because the light was shining out the edges of the acrylic panel. It must not have been completely dry because it looks like the paper soaked it up. I'll know better on the next one and can come back and re-install this one with a new print.

    2018TBLP47.jpg


    The UP5 at Golconda also got re-installed after the fascia board was installed and painted. Those holes to the left of the UP5 are where the next turnout control panel goes. Yes, after a bit of track cleaning especially where the track had been recently ballasted I even got to run some trains !

    2018TBLP55.jpg
     
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  15. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    So this being the end of another winter layout party did I get done what I had hoped to ? Here are the objectives I set 10 weeks ago and what happened with each of them.
    • Complete both industries that are along the back edge.
      • The exterior of the warehouse is complete but I still need to weather the outside and add the inside lighting and detail scene.
      • The basic structures for the plastic pipe company are done but nowhere near finished.
    • Paint the track and complete the ballast on the WP line along the front edge.
      • Yes, this is totally done.
    • Install an operating (sound and lights) grade crossing where the road crosses the WP line.
      • Yes, this is done and working but I need to install a better speaker.
    • Finalize layout and start structures of two industries that are where two sidings in the middle are.
      • Yes, both the diesel distributor and Barite crushing and loading facility have a good start.
    • Complete all basic scenery throughout this section - rock castings, ground cover, brush, roads, etc.
      • Mostly done except for brush and touch up needed along front edge where fascia was installed.

    Plus, things I had not expected to do but did them anyway.
    • Install Battle mountain section into layout, connect track and wiring, and blend scenery.
    • Install and finish 12 feet of fascia and install 1 turnout control panel.

    This was fun and I'm sure to be back again next winter. In the mean time I'll be working on finishing these other things that did not get done and am already planning on the next section of the layout.

    2018TBLP53.jpg
     
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  16. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Well, I guess time really does fly when you're having fun...I was surprised to see Brad's post wrapping up his Party Progress, but confirmed that I was, indeed, running late, and that everyone should be posting their final summary of work accomplished during this year's Winter Layout Party.

    Regarding my initial goals:
    1. change track configuration in several areas to add new or improve existing switching opportunities:
    a. add caboose track and interchange track in IC Decatur Yard Done
    b. reconfigure tracks in Peoria ADM Plant for in-plant switching Done
    c. add caboose track in BN Peoria Yard Switches and track available and space prepared, but not done yet.
    d. reconfigure tracks in Corn Products Plant Not Done
    e. add spur to PPU Materials Yard Not Done
    f. reconfigure PPU Diesel Shop tracks to provide space for Pig Track spur Not Done
    g. reconfigure PPU Car Barn tracks to free up another yard track Not Done
    h. lengthen Keystone Steel Mill Continuous Caster track and OHF charging tracks Not Done
    i. adjust clearance between tree flats and Bloomington Staging track Not Done
    2 of my 9 initial track configuration changes were accomplished, 7 were not done.
    Priorities shifted and 6 different trackwork goals were added (and finished)
    j. in the BN Peoria Yard Done
    k. in the BN North Alley Tracks Done
    l. in the Galesburg Arrival-Departure Yard and Galesburg Passing Siding Done
    m. in the PC Terre Haute Yard Done
    n. Significant track changes were made in the P&E Pekin Yard, the SF Pekin Yard and the PPU hidden tracks through Pekin Done
    o. caboose track added in CIM Havana Freight Yard Done

    8/15 goals done = 53%

    2. add, repair or replace structure mock-ups: None of these initial mock-up goals were finished.
    a. repair/replace? Keystone Steel Mill Billet Storage overhead cranes
    b. repair Beeney Warehouse
    c. repair/replace? Edwards Power Plant
    d. fix the hidden track clearance issues behind the Pekin storefronts
    e. add Cat North mock-up to hide helix access
    f. retape PPU Car Barn
    g. retape Tabor Grain unloading shed
    h. repair Smith-Scharff Paper
    i. repair Peoria ADM buildings
    j. retape Keystone Rod Mill, Power Plant
    k. retape Keystone EAF cardboard mock-up (replace with foamboard mock-up?)
    l. retape 5 RI Pioneer Park mock-ups
    I made new mock-ups for the BN Alley Industries.

    3. Speed match 9 pairs of locomotives. No speed matching was done.
    Goal was reduced to maintenance and repair of 9 pairs of locos.

    Of the 9 pairs of locos, maintenance and minor repairs were made for 7 pairs, new trucks were ordered for 2 locos, and 1 loco was left at a train shop for repair/replacement of a worm gear. Goal 15/18 (83.5%) done, with progress made on the remaining 3.
    The shop owner diagnosed a bad decoder in another loco, and I'll send that bad decoder (along with a malfunctioning DS64, a UR91 that doesn't work at all, and an unreliable UP5) to Digitrax for replacement).
    I put drop-in decoders in a 10th pair of locos.


    On my HO switching layout (8'x 20' T-shape, minimal scenery):
    1. troubleshoot/repair an electrical issue with a curved turnout Not Done
    2. check car weights, trucks, and coupler heights/functioning on recently acquired used cars Only checked and tweaked 2 of the original 11 cars
    3. repair 8 bad ordered HO cars Not done

    Pics later today or tomorrow.
    Also, summary of progress on job descriptions later today or tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  17. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Held my operating session at the end of January as scheduled, but on a greatly reduced scale (only 4 local core crew operators instead of a couple dozen operators from throughout north-central Illinois; tested 2 re-written job descriptions, instead of running multiple trains from Noon to 10 PM; and finally resolved an electrical issue (locos buzzed, hesitated, and stalled when entering/leaving Blocks 13, 14, 15, and 16 from/to Blocks 4, 7, and 8) that has plagued my layout for 3 years by running a Loconet cable directly from Command Station to Booster #4 instead of connecting Booster #4 at the end of a very long Loconet cable that also connected 20+ UP5 panels and 19 DS54s/DS64s to the Command Station.

    My original goals included finishing re-writes of all my job descriptions and switching worksheets for every train I could run during an operating session. While I did get some done and tested, I fell far short of finishing all of them: I estimated that 60% were done at the start of the Layout Party, and I'm probably at about 65% now, but many of the original 60% that were "finished" were upgraded during the Party with improved switching worksheets.

    These 4 pics show 2 of the job descriptions rewritten during the Party:
    1. (Blue heading =) PPU's CIM-Freight Transfer Job, SB leg from East Peoria to PPU>CIM Interchange Track in Pekin and NB Leg from CIM>PPU Interchange Track in Pekin to PPU East Peoria Yard.
    2. (Green heading =) CIM-Freight Pekin Turn, Northbound Leg from CiM Havana Freight Yard to CIM>PPU Interchange Track in Pekin (Operators suggested some changes in wording, which I penciled in.)
    3. (Green heading =) CIM-Freight Pekin Turn, Southbound Switching Worksheet (The boxes were filled in by the operator, and the penciled remarks at the top were wording changes suggested by the operator.)
    4. (Green heading =) CIM-Freight Pekin Turn, Southbound Leg from PPU>CIM Interchange Track in Pekin to CIM Havana Freight Yard. (I penciled in the wording changes suggested by the operator.)
    All 7 dozen jobs that operators can run on my layout, will have job descriptions and switching worksheets similar to the 4 pages above.

    While it was not included as one of my original Layout Party goals, I was pleased with refurbishing the track and adding scenery to my NMRA Division's HO modules.
     
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