2015-2016 Eighth Annual International Winter Layout Party

ppuinn Dec 20, 2015

  1. Kevin Anderson

    Kevin Anderson TrainBoard Member

    I have slowed to a crawl. I got sick this past week and I still need to finish painting g some rolling stock.
  2. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

    I'm very pleased with how much I was able to accomplish during this year's Party. My goals initially focused on finishing some tree flats and backdrop scenery, mocking-up some structures, finishing some minor electrical work, and cleaning track in preparation for an operating session at the end of January, but ultimately included much more.
    Tree flats and view blocks:
    Roads disappearing into the backdrop:
    Mock-ups: I also replaced or added lower level lighting in several places, got dozens of industry cards mounted on the fascia to guide car spotting in industries, made and mounted yard cards on the fascia to help operators breakdown and re-block their trains, repainted 32 feet of backdrop sky, sprayed foam insulation around the ceiling in an unheated portion of the layout under our front porch (former fruit cellar), adjusted track and turnout configurations in several areas to improve operations, made maps of 46 train routes for operators to follow, and wrote detailed job descriptions for a half-dozen of the more complex jobs.

    This is a pic of the 8 Bright Boys (and one Craytex) that I went through when I cleaned 24 scale miles of mainline and all my yards and industry spurs for the op session.
    Trains ran well during the operating session; but, having 22 people in a space that should only have had 15, made people meets problematic...so, since the op session, my Layout Party activities have largely focused on making specific improvements for my next op session.
    Over the last 2 weeks, I have been significantly revising my train schedule to improve both train meets and people meets. This is taking much more time than I had expected, because I need to arrange train meets for 30+ outbound trains and operators meeting 30+ inbound trains and operators, and the extra people meets caused when operators running trains on opposite sides of an aisle must meet, even though their trains do not. Additionally, there are several places where train and people meets are further complicated by having two decks on one or both sides of the aisles.

    I'm sure my next op session will go better if I limit occupancy in the basement/train room to 15 individuals (11 operators, 3 railfans, and me). I'll break the 10-hour session into 3 periods and ask operators to reserve a slot in only the early afternoon, late afternoon, or evening period. This will help spread the 20 to 30 individuals expected over 10 hours, instead of clustering in only 4 hours...as happened in January's session.
    I've already freed up aisle space for the next session by rearranged shelves and cabinets in the basement/train room so that up to 4 operators who are momentarily between jobs have someplace to sit instead of standing in the aisles. Also, for the next open house/op session, I'll set up a larger crew lounge upstairs for folks to congregate, socialize, snack, look at train mags, watch train videos, etc before or after they operate.
    nscalestation likes this.
  3. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member

    When I began, my goal was to have the benchwork completed by the end of the party. I had also hoped to just begin track work as well.

    I am pleased to report that I was able to exceed what I had expected to accomplish! I finished construction of benchwork (aside from the lift-outs), installed lighting for the lower level, installed subroadbed at Ravenswood Yard, installed about 12 feet of backdrop, and installed west end yard throat for Ravenswood as well as the west end run around switch and the main switch to Louisville (staging).


    The cars are sitting on the passing siding to the west of town. The roadbed for the main and the siding is in place for another 15 feet beyond. There will be 8 yard tracks to the left as well.

    Sent from my PantechP8010 using Tapatalk
  4. Extra 515

    Extra 515 TrainBoard Member

    I haven't laid track yet. Coming soon! Kids and work took up most of February. I did get all the track I need ordered and delivered, and the cork is sanded and ready to lay track on. I should be able to get back to it soon.
  5. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Sorry this is late but I wanted to post the small accomplishments to finish up this years layout party. While not the most photographic, the pictures illustrate a bit of work that I wished to accomplish.

    When I last left you, I had finished all the cork foundation and was ready for paint. I wanted to first fix a high point in the roadbed between two modules. The 2.5-inch track was carefully removed and the Masonite roadbed was sanded flat to match the adjoining roadbed. Once the roadbed was level, the 2.5-inch piece was re-installed and the rail head issue was resolved. All three modules were sanded and leveled before going on to the paint phase.

    We were fortunate enough to have a warm day in February, around 60 degrees, so I carefully removed each module, liberated them of their legs, took them downstairs to my garage and spray bombed the track with Rustoleum camo brown which looks more like a dark gray/brown color and simulates the brown rail head and removes the plastic shine to the ties. Once dried, the module went back up stairs and into the work shop where a Life-Like track cleaner easily removed the paint from the rail head. Once that task was accomplished, the module was vacuumed, the legs re-installed and placed upright. The process was repeated twice for the other two modules and seams simple but took most of my afternoon.

    The next task was to have a dedicated power source for the six servo turnouts that are on module two or the bulk of the Butler Building complex. I had purchased a Tam Valley Octopus module that will operate up to eight servo turnout controls last year and had been using an old MRC transformer to power this district of turnouts. This was bulky and not convenient. While at the Springfield train show a few weeks back, I ran into a small company called Barrett Hill. They make a series of touch toggles for servo turnout controls as well as other handy small electronics. They had a small DC transformer as well as supplies to make the installation neat so picking these items up for the GCJ was a no brainer. Two solid 18 gauge wires exit the Tam Valley Octopus and enter the barrel connector seen above. The small power supply simply plugs into house hold current and wha-la! Power to the district. Check out www.touchtoggle.com to see if they have something for your layout.

    The last thing I did was to start populating my freight car collection for the City Job. For years I ran modern trains before switching in the early 2000's to 1970's era B&M and then recently switching to CB&Q 1960's. As a result, a large percentage of my freight car fleet was not appropriate for the era of the layout. Rather than just buy a bunch of cars, I find it more enjoyable to paint my own. The CB&Q boxcar is a rescue from my teen years. I purchased it in 1986 or 87 and painted it in Testors paint, first Ford blue and black into a really bad McGinnis era B&M scheme then in the late 1990's tried to repaint it into a Main Central scheme. Years of neglect in my parts box meant it was missing a brake wheel, a door, a truck and the stirups. All of these items were easily found while the box car shell soaked in alcohol for a few days. Paint removed, items re-installed and three days later it comes out as a CB&Q boxcar. I love recycling! The two proper McGinnis era B&M Boxcars are the new super detailed PS-1's that Atlas has been doing. Beautiful cars but very delicate. The decals are old Concord Car Shop B&M decals I probably purchased in the late 1990's. I'll lightly weather these and call them good,

    I still need to get roads done and ballasting work but I got a lot of items taken off my list during this Layout Party. I want to thank Dave for doing this again and inspiring all of us to keep on building and modeling, looking forward to the 2017 Layout Party!
  6. mr magnolia

    mr magnolia TrainBoard Member

    I've not seen the layout party stuff before, but reading through it now makes me think it's a great idea - I appreciate all the feedback/reporting posts that people produced, thanks all!
    Hope to join in next year.

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