The Turtle Creek Central arises from the ashes of the old.

John Moore Jan 11, 2018

  1. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Other than a few more houses, maybe, I placed the last two structures on the plateau. My Basque sheep herders camp With a whole deer being roasted on a spit over a fire while some folks sit around and wait for dinner along with the herding dogs. Some of my logging stuff got re-purposed for this mini-scene. Another deer hangs from a tree to the right rear waiting to be butchered.

    And I installed and wired my water tank with flashing beacon there also. And once again Murphy raised his ugly head. As always when doing a water pour you try to have everything sealed. When I went to check on the 2nd pour on the big pond the level had dropped meaning a leak. As this stuff cures it heats up so I thought to feel the layout to try and determine where the leak was. The area directly under the tracks between the pond was unusually warm so I suspect the culvert area was the source of the leak. Last night I applied Water Effects as a sealant into the culvert and around it and hope that was it. Won't know until next week when I try to pour again and bring it up to the dam level. You can see the Water Effects drying in the culvert opening and around the abutments. The water was up to the top of the dam and now is back to the original level.

    In the meanwhile I am totally disgusted with my track ballasting job and so this weekend I am going to try and improve that some. And I am going to start installing a dirt road on the left side of the sheep camp. In the early years on the island roads were primitive with getting around was done by boat, ferry, airplane, or horse and carriage.
     
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  2. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Not much happening as I am taking a break to try and rest up from the chronic fatigue from the effects of the stroke and other medical issues which make it difficult to work on the layout for any length of time. Still highly dissatisfied with my lousing ballasting skills, which have manged to go south in my hiatus for model railroading, and flat stink in my artist's opinion of it, I may have hit on a way to clean up my lousy looking track. One of my Dremels died last year and the Wife gave me a new cordless one for Christmas. Rather than the old type which had the speed controlled by a slide switch this one is push button and more positive control. It also has a nice low setting and without a cord or a flex attachment I can get to the track fairly easy. So I tried a small rotary wire brush last night on some track, where my between the rails was sloppy and some areas outside the same. The effects were positive on both removing excessive ballast inside the rails that could catch a flange, and cleaning some glue off the rails. The slow speed gave me good control with little or no torque kickback due to the low speed. I definitely need to invest in a ballast spreader if they work worth a damn and if I can find one and some more Woodland Scenics dry ballast cement.
     
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  3. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well with my usual luck the Woodland Scenics dry ballast cement is no longer made for whatever reason. And It has turned out far more preferable to using liquid in my opinion. I also mixed some with my grass and turf and it worked well. After taking a afternoon nap I awoke with some energy and tackled a small section of track to improve the look and get the feel of a small railroad branch line. I applied both earth and blended turf to get rid of the excessive ballast and get the look of a line that hasn't seen regular use of a weed sprayer in the last decade.

    The untreated line behind the stockyards gives a nice before and after. So would appreciate your opinions.
     
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  4. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    John, the After is far superior to the Before which, agreeing with your opinion, stinks, and goes downhill from there.

    As a sage once said, Do not worry about being correct 51% of the time. Worry instead of being able to recover more than 51% of the time.

    You have done an admirable job of recovering. (y)
     
  5. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Part of my process involved cutting a small opening in the lid of my old 35mm film containers for a more controled flow of scenic material and I probably should have gone with using the thin sheet cork rather than the roadbed cork which sat the track to high like a mainline. Mistake number one though was not having a ballast spreader rather than trying to meter it out of those film canisters. I just don't have the degree of control or delicacy of touch I had years ago. This is an area that will see one freight a day and maybe four passenger runs. The stockyard is seasonal with the most activity being the spring lamb run to market with the herds coming off the mountain pastures.
     
  6. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I am slowly cleaning up my poor ballast job and now staring to put in the dirt road that runs by the sheep camp and cross the small creek twice before making it way toward the station on what will be a shared rail and road bridge. Remember one that crossed the Yellowstone River toward Fort Buford on a GN branch line.

    While I await some more scenic supplies I got into my logging stuff and trashed alot. Since a sawmill and a log camp won't ever be a part of this layout I decided that the logging would be off layout and only represented by an occasional log train on the canyon line or a log camp being moved with the equipment being on flats. Thus all my camp houses mounted on skids were retained along with some skid mounted equipment. The little flats are Bachmann oldtime 34 foot flats that have been retro'd with MT trucks. Three other equipment flats are completely scratch built with MT trucks. The one flat that the skidder is on is a four truck scratch built heavy equipment flat. Each set of trucks is on a underframe assembly that pivots and each truck in turn pivots.

    A shot from a number of years ago when I built the three equipment flat for a logging modelers magazine article.
    That is Z scale rail laid in the tops between the boards of the wood decks.
     
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  7. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Still continuing to peck away at the plateau area of Lonesome Cove. Added a few small details like fences etc. to the station area.
    And a loading ramp across from brewery and a two equipment buildings to the water tank base.
    The pickle car is just there to test clearances, was the first car I found. Also added two elevated wood tanks to the brewery salvaged from my logging camp stuff. Somehow that brewery is just calling for a windmill water pumping station to tap the pure limestone filtered water for the beer. Now if I can just find it in the storage boxes. Hope to get some serious track cleaning done today on the plateau area. The lower level canyon line is still unfinished with both ballast and buildings to put in and most of the incline is yet to be ballasted and scenic materials applied. I am supposed to get a ballast spreader in the post today that I ordered. This one is made by Bachmann and I have no idea how well it will work. More water and the material I need to install my roads are still out there somewhere. And the small bridges don't get put in until I have the roadway in.

    Waterfall and the water pours are still unfinished.
    Trial and error have led to a non stick pan being the best platform for pouring the Water Effects and getting them off. The first pour was made and let dry and then a 2nd pour was done on top of the first for a little more body to the falling water.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
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  8. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well Mr.Murphy raises his ugly head again, and just when things were going as well as could be. The turnout on the main by the brewery leading to the stone works spur decided to stop conducting electricity to the rest of the track in any position it was aligned to. I had just cleaned the track with a bright boy and was testing it with a 44 tonner. Loco would round the bend and come to a complete stop on the turnout. Tried it on the other side and nothing and no matter what the turnout alignment was, mainline or spur it was dead. Tinkered for awhile and still no good so I wet the ballast extracted the spikes and removed the turnout.

    And here is the offending turnout.

    It is a Jouef made in France with a 7 and 5/8ths radius and old as heck. I got a bunch of these long before I switched to the Peco ST-5 and 6s which have the same small footprint and sharp radius. Going through my track box everything is a left hand, except the longer footprint turnouts, Murphy strikes again dang it. So it is either cut track and mess with the alignment to get another turnout in there with a bigger footprint or wait until I get my mitts on some Pecos.

    However the Missus also the CFO of the railroad just gave me permission to order some. Using water soluble cement on the ballast and keeping these old timers on the front where I can get at them at least has paid off.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
  9. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    John, I believe you are using Peco turnouts, as am I. In cases where my turnouts stop conducting through the points, I run a piece of 600 Grit emery folded double with grit exposed between each point and stock rail. I lightly squeeze the two rails as I draw the emery through. My experience with Bright Boy cleaning is that minute pieces of grit will fall between the point and stock rail sufficient to prevent them closing tight enough to conduct. For this reason, I rarely use a Bright Boy. I have found that Peco track hardly ever needs cleaning, even after many months of disuse.
     
  10. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    The points were one of the first things I went after looking for the same occasional problem that I have had with the Pecos to no avail so after exhausting everything it just came out and hit circular file 13. The design is similar to Peco and I think that at some point, and a lot of age, the very small jumper wires underneath it corroded to the point of no return. Add the the fact that I have been using dry ballast cement and then spraying the track with water to set it, using a fine mist bottle, probably was the last straw. Trying to solder replacement wires is not in my bag of tricks anymore due to the lessening of my fine motor skills with age and infirmities. Also looking at the bottom of one of the others I would have to just about dismantle the turnout to accomplish said deed. So in a new philosophy of MRR anything that gets beyond my resources to fix gets the heave ho. Six new Peco MT-5s have been ordered about 40 minutes ago and will be here the first of next week. Problem solved and looking ahead to the port section where I am going to need about 20 Peco ST-5s and 6s.

    I saw what you said about the bright boys when a newer one did a little crumbling. However my trusty Bissel 3 in 1 vac with a crevis tool works wonders on getting loose things out of and off track. The crevis tool on this small vac is the same width as the track.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
  11. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Sir, I assumed nothing less of your skills, merely thought to refresh memories as needed.

    i reflect on your and my ballasting techniques, and effect on Peco turnouts. I had rarely ballasted in the past, thus never subjected turnouts to water or water thinned Elmer's. My latest ballasting is the first for most of my turnouts. Thus I expect, indeed hope for long life of the turnouts.
     
  12. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I try wholeheartedly to keep ballast away from turnouts and only ballast around the outer sides of the turnouts. And since I am not as steady of hand as I once was I am going to give this little thing a try which just arrived by post a half hour ago.

    Since there is no way to shut off the ballast from the hopper I figure to start at the turnout and work away from it, metering a little ballast at a time from my film canister into the hopper. Then I have to start covering each turnout as I spray a water alcohol mix. When I need to ballast to the outside of the turnouts I will just apply some Elmers with a old narrow artist's paint brush, sprinkle my ballast carefully and then use my diluted Elmer's with a fine pointed spout to flow some more on top of it. The diluted Elmer's flow though the ballast combining with the base coat and ends up quite solid.

    I have to also go back and rework the turnouts at the mine since some glue managed to get in the works and cause issues with two of them. In their case I just maybe able to remove them, toss them in my ultrasound bath, and give them a day to dry. Then a little LaBelle lube to the mechanisms and I will be fine. Again I am glad I use water based glues. While not a fan of the Kato track I can see why one would use it with the issue of ballasting all but gone. And the only reason I am not a fan is the cost. Otherwise it beats laying and gluing roadbed, then laying track, and finally ballasting.

    PS Just tried out the ballast spreader on a short section of the incline, and have come to the conclusion that I should have been using one of these 20 years ago.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
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  13. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Ballast spreader results are impressive. Where did you find it? I may ballast the remaining 95%+/- of my layout if I get one.
     
  14. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Just Google "Proses N ballast spreader". That big online store in Maryland has it and I'm sure many other places too. I've also seen them at train shows.
     
  15. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks
     
  16. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Right now I am feeding mine with a 35 mm film canister full of ballast which makes filling it from the small container easy while setting on the tracks since I have the Woodland Scenics shaker bottle. Right away I found that running it along the tracks with the feed ports trailing much easier than pushing with the feed ports leading. They also have a liquid glue dispenser that works along the same lines however I have not looked at it close enough to know if it has a flow shut off. Probably won't get one as the regular Elmer's bottle with the pointy dispenser is fine for me. I use full strength Elmer's for a lot things on the layout. When the bottle get low I add water to it and shake real good then transfer it to a bottle with the pointed tip. So I am using a thin diluted glue for the set for the ballast and my scenic ground cover.

    Last night I tore out the turnout outs for the mine run around to see what could be done with them and decided that they also were a hopeless case. All were bought cheap at a show years ago for a couple of dollars apiece. One was another Joeuf and the other a Trix. Burnt some midnight oil at the work bench playing with some more Jouef turnouts I had and found that they had the same issue as the first. So they, along with the old Trix turnouts hit circular file 13. Devised another run around using my stock of left hand Peco turnouts and all I have to do is redo some track at the mine. I am hoping that the Atlas powered turnouts in the hidden canyon continue to work because it would be a bear to get to them. The plan for now is if they fail I will leave them in whatever line they are routed to and use that as the continuous loop track. For staging trains I will just back three trains around through to Peco turnouts at the other end since they are the power control for those lines. So the dust basically has settled and the layout Is all Peco manual turnouts with only two Atlas powered turnouts, and Atlas code 80 flex and sectional track.
     
  17. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Years ago someone recommended wetting freshly laid ballast with alcohol before dripping diluted Elmer's. The alcohol wets the surfaces of the ballast grains which allows the Elmer's to flow evenly adhering to each ballast grain. Worked well on my small section of ballasted track. Haven't done the rest because that first attempt looked like your "Before" until I laboriously cleaned it up. Looks good now, but just too much work. The spreader should change all that.
     
  18. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Yep, alcohol works well as it breaks the surface tension and allows any liquids after it to flow evenly without picking up the ballast and carrying it somewhere else.
     
  19. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Two solutions work well for wetting scenic materials and ballast. Water with 70 % alcohol added or water with a drop or two of dish detergent. So far I have used both over time, and have found that the water alcohol mix seems to be the superior wetting agent helping the diluted glue flow very easily into the ballast and the scenic material. That is rubbing alcohol not the good bottled in bond sipping stuff.
     
  20. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Are those Jouef turnouts an insulated frog? Or an electric frog? Am guessing the latter?
     

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