2017-2018 10th Annual International Winter Layout Party

ppuinn Dec 17, 2017

  1. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    We know you're out there!
    Yeah, you… and you… and you with the potato chip hanging off your lip and the half-drunk beverage sitting beside you. We know you're not working on your layout as much as you hoped to.

    Rick Nicholson (Screen name: rsn48) issuing the first Layout Party invitation in Spring 2002.

    Welcome to the 2017-2018 10th Annual International Winter Layout Party

    You may have ideas for a new project that you always wanted to try but never got around to.
    Or there is a stack of kits on your workbench you’ve been meaning to start.
    Or you have a partially completed project that has been neglected for far too long.
    Or you have an almost-finished project that just needs some final fine-tuning and attention to complete.
    Or you are already in the midst of a project and you want to participate in the Party to share your progress with everyone else.


    The purpose of the Layout Party is to offer recognition, encouragement, and support to all participants who are working on a layout project, and to provide inspiration to those following others’ progress in the thread. We hope to have a group of people who will post about the work completed on their layout at least once a week for 10 weeks. We will, of course, congratulate those who have worked on their layout, and encourage those who haven't.

    This year's Layout Party officially begins today (Sunday, December 17, 2017) and will run for 10 weeks until Sunday, February 25, 2018.

    Rules for The 2017-2018 Tenth Annual International Winter Layout Party thread:

    1. In your first post, please include descriptions of:
    --your layout (brief),
    --the area of your layout that you intend to work on (“before” pictures, please…if available), and
    --a description of what you hope to accomplish in the 10 weeks of the Layout Party.


    2. At least once each week, post a brief description and/or pictures of your progress--or lack of progress--so far, and what you hope to accomplish in the next week. The object of the Layout Party is to have fun, so plan accordingly: set a reasonable goal...and feel free to revise your goal upward or downward as you go along, so you are having fun instead of feeling stressed.

    3. At the end of the Layout Party, post a description and/or picture(s) of your accomplishments.


    FWIW: Some observations and suggestions:

    • Life Happens. The idea here is for us to have some fun and act as an electronic support group so we can each get more done on our layouts.
    • Make a firm commitment to post at least once each week about progress on your layout project.
    • If you fall off the Layout Party Work Wagon, acknowledge it by reporting it honestly.
    • Then climb back on the Layout Party Work Wagon. Declaring exactly what you plan to work on during the next week will help you get back on the Layout Party Work Wagon.
    • When we have others coming over to see our layouts, we tend to get more done because we plan and prepare better, and then actually follow through so we have something to show our visitors and can garner some strokes for all our efforts. Posting in the Annual Layout Party works in much the same way: we plan, prepare, and follow through a little better when we know someone will be seeing our progress.
    • If you encounter difficulties on the layout project, remember that the other participants and all the Trainboard members following the Layout Party thread can be a resource for encouragement and problem-solving.
    • If you have any problems posting pics, let us know so we can do appropriate problem-solving.

    Many participants have enjoyed this format and have commented that they accomplished more work on their layout in the short time we ran a Layout Party thread than they had in long time. Many members posted pictures, asked questions, moaned about problems, and encouraged others who were working through their own frustrations. Check out these links to our past layout parties.

    2016-2017 Ninth Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2015-2016 Eighth Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2014-2015 Seventh Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2013-2014 Sixth Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2012-2013 Fourth Annual International Winter Layout Party (Really, it was the Fifth Annual)

    2011-2012 Third Annual International Winter Layout Party (Really, it was the Fourth Annual)

    2010-2011 Third Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2009-2010 Second Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2008-2009
    2009 - First Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2008 - Spring Layout Party
    Sixth Annual International Spring Layout Party - TrainBoard.com

    2007 - Spring Layout Party
    Fifth Annual International Spring Layout Party - TrainBoard.com

    2005 – Spring Layout Party
    Door Knocker's Delight

    2004 – Spring Layout Party


    2003 – Spring Layout Party
    From Armchair to Benchwork

    2002 – Spring Layout party
    Lonely Heart's Club Band
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
  2. Doorgunnerjgs

    Doorgunnerjgs TrainBoard Member

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    Cool, maybe this is the bump in the rear I need! I have a modified Time Saver Layout, homasote on hollow core door, code 83 nickel silver track on cork roadbed, running DCC. As can be seen below, nothing else has been done. During this layout party, I hope to get it all balasted, some basic scenery (including trees) put in, and more buildings built and painted with basic interiors, and some lighting both in buildings and around the layout,



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    I am hosting an open house/operations session at the end of January, and for the Layout Party, I'll be completing both layout and "administrative/paperwork" projects.

    On my N-scale layout (large, double-deck, DCC, 1970s era, operations oriented, lots of trees, >150 mocked-up structures--My Albums in RailImages) my goals include:
    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
    b. reconfigure tracks in Peoria ADM Plant for in-plant switching
    c. add caboose track in BN Peoria Yard
    d. reconfigure tracks in Corn Products Plant
    e. add spur to PPU Materials Yard
    f. reconfigure PPU Diesel Shop tracks to provide space for Pig Track spur
    g. reconfigure PPU Car Barn tracks to free up another yard track
    h. lengthen Keystone Steel Mill Continuous Caster track and OHF charging tracks
    i. adjust clearance between tree flats and Bloomington Staging track
    2. add, repair or replace structure mock-ups:
    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
    3. Speed match 9 pairs of locomotives.

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


    Administrative/paperwork projects:
    Earlier this year, I started shifting over to using a variation on time tables and track warrants to manage train movements on my N-scale layout. For January's operating session, I want to:
    1. finish revising time tables for all trains (about 60% are already done)
    2. finish making worksheets for all jobs requiring operators to switch cars in industries (about 40% are already done)
    3. revise the existing job descriptions and routing instructions to reflect the new time tables and incorporate the new multi-segment track warrants (some work is started on about 50%, but less than 10% are completely finished)
    4. replace old fascia labels with updated ones

    On the HO switching layout:
    1. fill out car cards for 48 cars
    2. make fascia labels for the HO layout
     
  4. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Welcome to the Layout Party, John.
     
  5. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    Let's wait and see is the wife is giving me what I think she is...
     
  6. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    I really enjoyed last year's party and got a lot done on the layout so have been looking forward to doing it again.

    A new 8 ft long section for the layout was started last summer that will represent Battle Mountain, Nevada with several rail served industries. The bench work, track, and wiring are all complete. Scenery is now in progress and most of this will be done with the section sitting on saw horses in the middle of the train room before actually installing the section in it’s place on the layout, much easier this way. When completed, this section will be installed next to the Golconda section. Then the track and wiring will be connected and scenery blended with the existing part of the layout.

    Since last year’s layout party I added a temporary turn around loop between the two tracks that end in the area of the layout known as Golconda. This allows Trains to be run through the entire layout. When the Battle Mountain section is installed, the return loop will be moved to the other end of it.

    Here is what this looks like today. All of the industries are served from the rear track which is the SP line or the west bound track in the paired track arrangement. Two shallow building flats have been started and there will be two more on line industries at those sidings that are covered with blue tape right now. The long blue tape along the front edge is covering the WP or westbound track. No industries here, in reality the two lines are a couple of miles apart at this point so I have the WP line a bit lower than the rest of the area so as to separate the scenes a little.

    2018TBLP01.jpg

    So, over the next 10 weeks this is what I hope to accomplish.
    • Complete both industries that are along the back edge.
    • Paint the track and complete the ballast on the WP line along the front edge.
    • Install an operating (sound and lights) grade crossing where the road crosses the WP line.
    • Finalize layout and start structures of two industries that are where two sidings in the middle are.
    • Complete all basic scenery throughout this section - rock castings, ground cover, brush, roads, etc.
    This year I bought a better heater to use in the train room so I was ready for winter. This is one of those electrics with a reflector and pointing it toward the area I am working in keeps me warm even if the temp in the room says 55 degrees.
     
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  7. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Welcome to the Party.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  8. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    This last few months, I have been working hard on the west half of Playa Desnuda. I was able to get all of Christmas week off of work, so I plan to add more ground cover and trees to make it feel complete enough for me to turn my attention to the east.
    [​IMG]
    Currently the east half is rather nude, and the oil depot will be added to the back half of the layout. Currently, there is about a five inch gap between the road and the tracks, which will allow me room to add a sidewalk and street parking. Tonight, I found out that my wife is going to be giving me my Christmas Present late, but it will make Playa Desnuda look a lot better. She is giving me Woodland Scenics N Scale Town and Factory Building Set. This set has thirteen DPM kits, including a model of the turret building on the 700 block of San Pedro.
    [​IMG]
    Fortunately, there are many scenes where the backs of buildings were close to Pacific Electric tracks
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Welcome to the Party, Bremner. Looks like N-scale will be well-represented again this year. I suspect we’ll see more Party-ers in other scales arriving after the Holiday(s).


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  10. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have been working on adding some details to the Diamond Plastics Company building getting it ready for paint. The silos for the plastic pellets are from a Faller kit which also had some extras that should come in handy somewhere else. The plastic pellets are unloaded from the covered hoppers with a vacuum system so I am adding some piping and hoses to represent that.
    2018TBLP02.jpg


    The warehouse will be a light gray color with a blue stripe running along near the top. I brushed on some Testors intermediate blue which will be masked off before spraying the gray with my air brush. I could see that the busy background in my earlier photo was distracting so I will be using one of my temporary back drops in these photos for clarity.
    2018TBLP03.jpg

    Much of the area along the front edge of the Battle Mountain section has now received basic scenery and the track has been painted. There will be a grade crossing on this line so I have ordered a set of the Blair Line angled wood crossing to use here.
    2018TBLP04.jpg

    I want to control this grade crossing with an Arduino micro controller and have been working on the programming for this. The outputs on the Arduino will handle the LED's on the crossing directly and I got the part of the program done that will make them flash realistically. The relay module will be used to turn on/off the sound from the bell module.
    2018TBLP05.jpg

    Looks like we are off to a good start here. Have a Merry Christmas everyone.
     
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  11. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Would someone with no prior Arduino experience be able to program the Arduino to run crossing flashers and/or gates from a manual or online videos? Or, is the learning curve steep enough that they should complete an Arduino for Dumbies 101 class before attempting it?
     
  12. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    The way I started was to just make one function work using examples I found on the web. I have been playing around with these on and off for almost 5 years now. Several simulated projects using LED's but this will be my first practical project. While I have not found any examples showing the program for exactly what I am doing, I am using examples I do find and put those together to make it do what I want. When I do get this all working I will post the complete project including the code here on trainboard and on my blog.

    There are lots of little functions these things can do and they have gotten cheap enough now.
     
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  13. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Excellent!! Thank you.
     
  14. sp4009

    sp4009 TrainBoard Member

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    I'll bite.. Progress for the first few weeks will be nil, trying to get over the flu, and I have some custom work on the bench that needs to be finished first.

    My layout is N scale, designed for operations and based on the Southern Pacific's Toledo Branch in July, 1967. The branch runs from Albany, OR to Toledo, OR. My main focus is on Toledo itself with a lumber mill, plywood plant, oil dealer and paper mill with a separate wood chip dump site that is across a waterway from the mill. I included another lumber mill that was about 50 miles from Toledo just outside of staging and I am filling in the gap with a Coast Range scene with the sole remaining tunnel and two substantial stick built wood trestles. Track work is a mix of Micro Engineering code 55 flex, all hand laid turnouts and derails, plus hand laid code 40 in most of the industry and auxiliary trackage. The layout fills a good portion of a spare bedroom, somewhat horseshoe shaped along two walls with a peninsula. You walk along the peninsula as you enter the room and around it into the horseshoe. The layout operates "point-to-staging," but does include a continuous loop option for when I just want to run a train or have "limited interest" company over.

    So, what I need to work on is the last of the track installation, but before I can do that, I need to finish the backdrop in the photo, at least to the point where I can reach it from outside of the helix. Starting from the right side, the "turnout to nowhere" will come towards the fascia and be split into the oil dealer and house track(code 40). The curved piece of track extending towards the back is "joinered-in" and free floating at the moment, but will lead to the wood chip dump. The gap in the plywood at center/back will be filled with the trestle that's laying in "kit form" on the piece of plywood to the right. To the left of the gap, the "paint farm" will be moved and the track will split into two tracks and come towards the camera for the chip dump spots, this will also be hand laid code 40.

    10 weeks will go by fast, hopefully the real railroad will allow enough time for me to get at least most of this accomplished.

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Welcome to the party Joe, That is quite a nice backdrop you are painting !
     
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  16. sp4009

    sp4009 TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Brad! The section to the left of the stream bed will be painted over to more match the section to the right of the stream bed. Plans are to plant a good stand of trees in front of this to blend it all together.
     
  17. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas. I've gotten a few things done since last week.

    Got the angled grade crossing set in the mail and got it installed. It comes as a set of two and I used both to get the width I wanted. These will be masked off and the road surface built up to them with sheet rock mud.
    2018TBLP07.jpg

    Started checking out the IR sensors and circuit that I want to use to trigger the grade crossing.
    Azatrax7.jpg

    Did some experiments with the sensors and several types of freight cars on my test layout to find the best way to position the sensors. Settled on them being at both a vertical and horizontal angle.
    Azatrax6.jpg

    Got the first pair of sensors installed on the layout and will be using scenery to hide them as much as possible. Also got the lower level ballast done on most of the WP / East bound track.
    2018TBLP06.jpg

    We have our youngest nephew visiting over the new years holiday. My office is also the guest room so may not be posting anything until after Jan 3rd. Wishing you all a safe and happy new year.
     
  18. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    Tonight I was able to create another tank out of 2″ ABS pipe couplers, styrene, and Clever Models textures…needing some sort of bridge, I took a part of the Walthers ADM grain elevator for a fitting…..
    [I[​IMG]
     
  19. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    This past week, I've been working on setting up timetables for 41 northbound trains and 41 southbound trains...but, since some of the trains are northbound only (e.g., ICG 292) or southbound only (e.g., ICG 291), and some of the trains are turns (PPU Corn Products Transfer SB from East Peoria to Pekin and then Transfer other cars NB from Pekin to East Peoria), a full operating session has 51 scheduled trains moving over the mainlines.
    I've tweaked the schedules so that--using a 1:4 fast clock for a 24-hour day--2 to 4 scheduled trains are running on the 4 division mainlines at the same time 2 or 3 trains are working 7 morning shift industry jobs and 7 afternoon shift industry jobs. The shortest jobs can be completed in about 15 minutes (real time), and the longest jobs (Bartonville Local AM or PM Job, or the TPW Kolbe Switcher Job serving the 8 Kolbe industries) take over an hour. Most jobs are between 20 and 30 minutes long.
    In real time (no fast clock), completing all mainline trains and all industry jobs could take a little less than 6 hours. [Yeah....Riiiight. ROFLMAO: That's assuming no DCC problems, close to 30 scale miles of mainline tracks and all tracks in 100+ industries are bullet-proof and very clean, wheels of 100+ locos are clean and consisted locos are playing nice with each other, and the job descriptions (track warrants, switching instructions/paperwork) that I've written--and which make perfect sense to me--also make perfect sense to operators.]

    I still have to make adjustments in timing most of the industrial job descriptions...I used overly-generous estimates on some industry jobs when setting up my mainline trains, and those estimates need to be refined so the Corn Products in-plant job, BN Alley Job, and IBS Scrap Yard Job descriptions provide a more accurate description of how long the jobs will take; and, so the 2 switching jobs working in Keystone Steel and Wire Mill, don't interfere with each other.

    In terms of work on the layout (instead of on paperwork and the computer), in the next few days I hope to make some track configuration adjustments in several industries and yards to improve operations. And I hope some of the local operators can help me test run some of the jobs to confirm that my job descriptions make sense and that the times I've allotted for switching various jobs are, indeed, workable.
     
  20. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I can’t promise I’ll always post an update. I’m better at the modeling part than the posting part. 2018 is the year my modular layout, the Galesburg City Job gets new modules. My friend and I have been working on the GCJ since 2013 and have been to many shows in the Midwest including Trainfest.having learned some things, I redesigned the 18X48 inch modules and have made them from Baltic Birch for rigidity and light weight. The prototype Mk.IV was completed in November and two Sister modules will be built next and partly the subject of this years Layout Party.

    The background quickly of the layout: it is a scale representation of Galesburg Illinois former industrial district, known as the City Job by CB&Q employees. The track plan is to scale within a scale foot or two and is a joint operation between myself (Modeling the CB&Q) and my good friend Bill who is modeling the Santa Fe portion. I designed the layout to be built on a series of 18X48 inch modules so that it can be taken to shows and easily moved should we move.

    The goal is to be where I am with the current modules by April and ready for exhibition. What I wish to accomplish for this years Layout Party is:

    1. Construction of Modules 3, 4 and 5. Modules 1 & 2 will be at a latter date.
    2. Transfer the track work from an employee Click book to my layout planning software. The Click book is essentially a “road map” for the crew to operate and switch freight. It will certainly speed up the process of laying track accurately.
    3. Install necessary wiring and bus wire as well as preliminary work for grade crossing signals and switch servos.
    4. Lay, paint, weather and ballast track.
    5. Install, paint and weather roads.
    6. Install, paint and weather all that acreage of concrete that makes up my largest customer, Butler metal buildings.

    More to come:
     

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