2016-2017 Ninth Annual International Winter Layout Party

ppuinn Dec 29, 2016

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  1. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    The reconfigured yard is almost done: All track is in, ground throws have been installed, and the track cleaned. I still need to re-solder feeders for a dozen tracks.

    In my last post, I had pics of the Keystone Steel and Wire Mill barge track and the channel with water and trees...just under 4 feet. Today I put water in and trees along the next 4.5 feet where the channel narrows and becomes a wide ditch providing water to the Keystone Mill's Power Plant. I had to shift the channel/ditch over about an inch and a half so I could have a decently wide road running between the grass/trees along the ditch and the ground throws for turnouts leading to the tracks of the charging yard and marshaling yard. As soon as I get some gravel down for the road, I'll finish up the last 6 feet of the ditch.

    The first pic shows the undecorated OSB panel that has represented the channel/ditch for so long...probably over a decade.
    In order to cut my painted foamboard correctly, I made some templates out of newspaper, and traced them with my Exacto.

    Then I added the water and trees.
    The red cardboard mock-up in the distance at the end of the ditch represents the Mill's power plant. Next week, I'll put water in the ditch all the way to the power plant, and refurbish the trees alongside the ditch. I'll probably redo the power plant mock-up too.
    Edit: I just noticed today (Sunday) that the pic of the last part of the ditch to be worked on during the next week, hadn't been inserted the other day when I posted this progress report. So, here it is:
    To make it easier to sort cars/build trains in the TPW's Farmdale Yard in East Peoria, I added a drill track to the visible staging yard of the TPW Farmdale Yard in East Peoria (about 1 mile north of the 1:1 PPU Main Yard in East Peoria, and about 1.1 scale miles north of the 1:160 PPU Main Yard in East Peoria).
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
  2. Ed Slanina

    Ed Slanina TrainBoard Member

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    Looking great!
     
  3. Another ATSF Admirer

    Another ATSF Admirer TrainBoard Member

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    @ppuinn nice ditch. Just needs a kid goofing off, jigging for frogs or some such.

    Progress is addictive, I've been out in the garage most evenings.

    Thanks to google and YouTube, I found a rubber-band powered nail driving tool
    [​IMG]

    Solid brass rod 1/16" diameter is about the same size as the head on my Peco SL-14 track pins. And hollow 3/16" outside diameter brass stock happens to be about 1/16" inside diameter (not convinced this is coincidence). So pull on the plunger and let go, and the rubber bands slap the tiny elastic hammer into the nail, and drive it home. By being careful (less stretch when nearly finished), I can stop before I bend the ties; and because the hollow tube is about the same size as the nail head, it can't go sideways and bend.

    Next, the staging yard has been fully assembled
    [​IMG]
    And installed
    [​IMG]
    The glue bottle is holding it down while the glue on the shims to keep it level on the shelf brackets is curing.

    Next, I realised the turnout that is right over the support beam is the most logical point to break the reverse loop. Have the entire balloon and staging yard with non-reversing polarity (left of below photo), and switch the polarity on the reverted loop lead / spur (right of below photo).
    [​IMG]
    Tortoise with remote mounting kit provides me DPDT switches tied to the points throwbar for power routing the spur.
    Does require that no engines are moving on the spur while the points are thrown..
    One gentle afternoon installing the remote mounting kit and getting it all working (with a handy 9V battery). The 'Hare' decoder is already installed, but not wired, for when I get DCC working.

    [​IMG]
    So now I can drive the DC test train from the reverted loop spur (at the back of the under-layout work bench), all the way down under the helix supports, to the staging yard, through the swing arm Selector Track and everything.

    :D

    To complete the staging deck, I need to lay the last curved track under my cooling fan and finish the reverted loop with my elastic hammer. Then I can practice turning trains from the helix to the yard.

    :cool:
     
  4. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Busy weekend: Saturday, I drove across the state to an operating session on Jim Wiggin's 1960s era Galesburg Industrial Job. Jim is another TrainBoard Staff Member. He also does custom paint jobs and super detailing of locomotives. After 2 hours of switching, he did some fine tuning of the trucks on both of the ICG Paducah GPs he painted for me last year, and I bought a custom painted Rock Island GP in bankruptcy blue and white from him to beef up my RI loco roster.

    Sunday, I went to the semi-annual (2/yr) train meet at Illinois Central College in East Peoria to help set up our NMRA division's 8 HO display modules (DCC, 8x16 foot oval with double track main) and provide an opportunity for kids (of all ages) get hands-on experience running a train. The sound decoders are always a big hit with children. And even a lot of adults ooh and aah when they see and hear DCC trains operate up close for the first time, remarking on how much better the trains look, run, and sound compared to the trains of their childhood.
    After lunch, I took a break to go around to the vendor booths and picked up:
    a rail bridge that I'll shorten by about 2 inches, paint, and install over a river crossed by my Northern Division main;
    a new book about the Rock Island and Peoria Railroad [late 1800s] and Peoria Terminal Company [early 1900s (both of which were later owned by the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific RR). In my op sessions, I run 4 Rock Island trains from the 1970s: a Transfer job between the RI Peoria Yard and the PPU East Peoria Yard, the RI Beltline Job (serving industries along the former Peoria Terminal Company tracks); the RI Kellar Branch Job (serving the industries along the former RI&P from the RI Peoria Yard up to Alta at the northern edge of Peoria... the CRIP had abandoned the rest of the line from Alta up to Rock Island in 1967); and the Corn Products (in-plant) Job which the RI ran until its demise at the end of the 1970s.
    a scratchbuilt billboard, N-scale; a used neon sign (only $2.00, but I haven't confirmed that it still works as reported);
    some construction vehicles: 3 N-scale, 1 HO;
    CNW time table for the Illinois Division (which includes the stations I'm modeling)
    and an ATSF time table for the Illinois and Chicago Terminal Divisions (and the Pekin Subdivision which includes the stations I'm modeling); and
    a pic of a M&StL caboose to hang near my HO switching layout of the 1960s era M&STL Bartlett Yard in Peoria.
     
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  5. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Another ATSF Admirer posted: @ppuinn nice ditch. Just needs a kid goofing off, jigging for frogs or some such.

    Good idea! How about this fisherman kneeling on the far side of the KSW Mill barge channel?

    Hmmm...looks like, when I brushed away some ballast that was floating on the "water" before taking my pic, that I inadvertently brushed away the guy's fishing pole which I'd made from a bristle pulled from an old paint brush and propped in his right hand. When I replace the fishing pole, I think I'll also add a tackle box and a cooler nearby.
     
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  6. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Not so much progress to report this time. Got a show coming up this weekend so much of my hobby time I've been working to get everything ready for that.

    What I did get done on the layout since my last post was to install a 3 ft section of flex track on the SP line so all the way thru the Gloconda section and over the concrete trestle. Got that track ballasted, and started to get the scenery blended in between the Wesso and Gloconda sections.


    This photo taken from the east bridge abutment on the WP line looking west shows the area I have been working on. The west WP bridge abutment and the unfinished WP road bed is seen in the lower right of the photo. I put off installing the thru truss bridge and WP track until the SP track is finished. Will still need to do some touch up work on the ballast and scenery, then start adding the brush thru the area. The eastbound train seen on the SP line is one that I am testing out and plan on running at this weekends show.
     
  7. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member

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    With the Presidents Day holiday on Monday, I had a long 4-day weekend.
    1)I built an "island pier" to support the bench work for the realigned Ravenswood Yard.
    2) Repurposed two 8' sections of upper level benchwork that had no construction on it but lights ready to go for the lower level.
    3) Repurposed the 6' angled section shown in the below track plan on the lower level (the sceniked area with the tunnel, if you recall from earlier posts).

    I need to salvage the track off of two other 8' sections of Ravenswood yard I can reuse one of the 8' sections on the lower level when it is cleaned off. Might be able to re-lay the yard tracks by the middle of March, and have the yard fully operational by mid April, possibly.
     
  8. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Yesterday, I cut out 44% of the girders on top of the bridge, and this morning I cut the track and supporting girders underneath.

    Still have to glue the ends back together, paint it, carve the river from the Homasote, put water in the river, plant some trees and shrubbery, and then install the bridge.
     
  9. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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  10. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Nice job on the bridge Dave !

    A few years ago I had also picked up one of those (Tomix ?) thru truss bridges at a train show with the same idea to shorten it to use on an Ntrak module I was rebuilding. I could not figure it out at the time and ended up building a completely different type of bridge.
     
  11. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Brad: This was a Kato bridge. The girders formed 5 upright triangles, and 4 inverted triangles. I unscrewed the track piece from the bridge structure, separated the plastic girders forming one upright triangle from one end of the bridge, and then completely removed the girders forming 2 upright triangles and 2 inverted triangles. I cut the brass rails of the track piece with my rail nippers; the plastic girders, ties under the rails, and guard rails and walkway between the rails were cut with the Exacto; and the 4 plastic box-beams supporting the piece of track and forming the base of the bridge were cut with wire cutters and trimmed with the Exacto.

    In the pics of the test fitting posted above, you'll notice there are trees covering the ends of the bridge. This is because Kato has a bridge support at either end of the bridge that fits into the ends of the 4 box-beams that run the length of the bridge. I cut off just the girders from one end of the bridge and then shortened the 4 box-beams...which removed the specially-formed ends of the box-beams that held the 1/2 inch tall bridge supports in place at that end of the bridge. I need to make an executive decision about whether to carve out the 2 inside box-beams and build up the 2 outer box-beams to accept (properly hold) the bridge support at that end of the bridge, or just continue to hide that end of the bridge behind trees and shrubbery. Also, instead of including the Kato bridge support details, I'm considering inserting some 1/2 inch tall stone piers (like the prototype Illinois Terminal railroad bridge over the Mackinaw River had); however, if I include both the 1/2 inch tall Kato bridge support details AND the 1/2 inch tall stone piers, then I'll have to lower the level of the river by another 1/2 inch...which means I'll have to rework the entire lower deck benchwork in that area. This would be do-able, but a total pain in the caboose.
     
  12. Another ATSF Admirer

    Another ATSF Admirer TrainBoard Member

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    Cover it with bushes! ;)
    Nice chopped bridge.

    Life intruded again. Replaced a failing HDD in my server, good for a few hours of downtime staring at the raid rebuild console. Got woke at 3am by a smoke alarm. Replace the battery, keeps going off. Turns out they have a 10 year lifespan. So now I own a box of shiny new smoke alarms :)
    Then went for a drive and came back with a water feature for the wife. Dog bowl, bird bath, and chuckling pole of flowing water. :coffee:

    Despite all that, I managed to lay track around the reverted loop, so I can now turn my test train around. One random decouple so far - need to check the coupler height on that loco :confused:

    No pictures. And no sign of my "real" camera either. I am sure I have seen it since we moved in. But where? :(
     
  13. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    I was at a train show San Jose, CA all weekend so did not get anything more done on the layout but did buy a few things I need for the layout. Got some more scenic cement and digging around some boxes under the tables came up with 4 old boxes of Atlas telephone poles that were marked $1 to $3. The seller sold me all 4 for $5 - one of my best train show finds for some time !

     
  14. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    I always try to get to train shows as soon as they open, hoping to scoop up recycled kits or detailing parts for very little $$$. 90% of the people and telephone poles on my layout are "bargain bag" finds at train shows; and probably half of my cars and a third of my trucks are, too.

    Update on my most recent train show finds:
    A train buddy and I work on each other's layouts every Tuesday. Last week, we checked out the $2 neon sign that I bought at the train show (with one of the dozens of 10 to 50 cent wallwarts that I've picked up from garage sales or train shows over the past few decades), and discovered there were several loose wires. I'll see if we can solder them back in place later today.

    I've glued and painted the chopped bridge, and will weather it tomorrow. I've decided to widen the river bank a little bit more and put in the bridge supports, but, as Another ATSF Admirer suggested, I'll still have some bushes or trees nearby. Pics in a few days.

    I finished the water and trees in the ditch to the Steel Mill power plant a few days ago, and have been fashioning cardboard mockups of the 3 gantry cranes that load the EAF scrap pots and OHF charging carts in the charging yard. Later today or tomorrow, I hope to work on the gravel roadway next to the ditch and scenic some tanks and piles of alloys by the alloy track and lime shed. I'll try to upgrade my cardstock mockup of the power plant, too. Pics by the end of the week.
     
  15. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    I would love to do that but I am usually one of the ones in my Ntrak group who is still working out the remaining bugs in the layout, DCC, etc.
     
  16. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    LOL! Yeah, Brad; me too. This past show I arrived at 8:00 for a 10:00 opening, and couldn't get away from our modules until after lunchtime!
     
  17. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Set the painted bridge the other day, and this morning I carved out the fascia to match the river's profile, tweaked the bushes and trees along the river bank, and added two fishermen. Pics of Illinois Terminal 756 crossing the Mackinaw River while fishermen search for the best spots under the bridge:
     
  18. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    The thru truss bridge and track is now installed on the east bound paired track to the east end of the Gloconda section. Here I am applying 50/50 glue solution to the ballast between the dry creek trestle where the track curves in the background to the west end of the thru truss bridge. I know a lot of people don't like doing ballast but I do. This was for me a pleasant way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon.


    I have also been mocking up how I want to use the I-80 overpass at Winnemucca as an exit for the SP line.
     
  19. Another ATSF Admirer

    Another ATSF Admirer TrainBoard Member

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    Here fishy fishy..

    little progress this week. I found some paint and soldered some feeders.

    [​IMG]
    Not a very prototypical colour for Arizona or New Mexico, but this is the staging deck!
    [​IMG]

    Nearly at the end of the Party, so I thought it would be nice to stage some shots for comparison:
    [​IMG] | [​IMG] | (click to embiggen)

    And

    [​IMG] | [​IMG] | (click to embiggen)

    Some of the clutter has moved around, all the clamps have come out to hang out on the workbench, oh, and the staging deck has track on it :D

    So that completes goal #1 of the New Duck River Sub :- run a train out of staging, around the reverted loop, and back into staging.
    From here, I want to clean up the wiring, install point motors and automate the Wyes, and get DCC working.

    No doubt I will get to stretch goal #2 "build a bowl helix" before the southern hemisphere moves into Winter proper, and from there it's all trains ;)
     
  20. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    I just saw that it was on Sunday that this ended. Some how I had it in my head that it was on the 9th.

    After the ballast I was doing on Sunday was dry, I continued to work the scenery between the west ends of the bridges at Gloconda and the dry creek. The areas between the tracks and in front of the layout is still wet in the photo. Brush is being added behind the track near the sky board.

    And I started to work on some of the line side poles that I picked up at the train show weekend before last.

    So, did I accomplish on the layout what I set out to do on New Years day. Lets see...

    Install photographic backdrop ?
    Yes, all 24 feet of it.

    Anchor sections to wall and each other ?
    Yes, both the Wesso and Gloconda sections are in.

    Install fascia to front of these sections ?
    Partial, fascia on most of Wesso section but not yet extended thru Gloconda section.

    Finish river scenery on Gloconda section ?
    Yes

    Finish and install both bridges on Gloconda section.
    Yes

    Install track on Gloconda section and finish track between sections ?
    Yes, track is all connected on both line all the way from the helix to the east end of Gloconda.

    Install wiring and connect everything up to the Gloconda section ?
    Yes

    Be able to run a train from the yard all the way to Gloconda ?
    Yes


    I have really enjoyed this layout party seeing what others are doing on their layouts. It also helped me focus on getting some specific things done on my own layout. Looking forward to doing this again in the future.
     

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