BN Ottumwa Subdivision

John Raid Dec 31, 2020

  1. John Raid

    John Raid TrainBoard Member

    49
    116
    17
    It's been a long time since I've posted but thought I'd share a little progress. My son and I made a video as if our layout were the real BN Ottumwa Subdivision in 1995. There's still so much work to do but we now have 95% of the track done (ok, not counting the West Burlington Shops) and 30% ballasted with some basic scenery. Clearly there are more engines to super detail and paint along with endless brick buildings for downtown. I seem to have an inexplicable need to bash or scratch build everything. I got sick of crossing the Mississippi on plywood and 3D printed a "temporary" bridge but actually it looks pretty good. At least it will work until downtown is done.

    Here's the video:

    And some other pictures: BN2913 crossing the Mississippi river bridge.jpg
    BN 491 with GP39E 2913, GP39M 2813, and MPI SD40M-2 (ex PRR SD45) crossing the Mississippi River.

    Burlington yard, Hawk Eye, Rutherford.jpg
    Burlington yard looking North. The Hawk Eye building is cardboard to see how it will fit. Rutherford potato is scratch built. We're going to keep the turn table and round house even though they were removed in the 70s. Main Street (blue foam) conceals the K-Line (Hannibal sub) staging.

    Burlington Yard and station platforms.jpg
    Burlington yard looking South. The platforms are scratch built but still need the gravel top and weathered. Clearly the station needs built too. The yard is all code 40 with hand laid turnouts driven by Blue Points. I still have 8 turnouts to build for the north end. The K-Line peals off at the far end under the bluff and has staging under main street.

    Downtown Burlington.jpg
    Downtown Burlington clearly needs a lot of work. The track for C&E, Borax, and Murry Boiler are complete with the Lucas crossover. The Burlington Junction in the foreground needs completed once the yard ladder is done.

    West Burlington Hill.jpg
    Looking back at Burlington from the West Burlington Hill. This is the ruling grade on the real BN at 1.6% and is on the layout as well. Mine is just a lot shorter. In the distance you can see the yard and the Mississippi bridge. I couldn't have asked for a better shaped basement to model Burlington, IA other than for it to be bigger. Or maybe it was too big?

    West Burlington Shops.jpg
    Here is where the West Burlington shops will be. I need to at least get a cardboard version up sometime. The helix down to staging is in the background. If anyone is thinking of building a layout with hidden staging below I have one word - don't. It makes things so much harder than they need to be. Of course I said that on my last layout too.

    Daymon CTC panel.jpg
    Here's one of my CTC control panels. This one is at Dayman. The switch knobs are rotary switches that drive tortoise switch machines. The signals right now are just "play" but I have designed and built some optical IR detectors that will eventually tie into operating signals.

    If anyone has any questions feel free to ask and I'll try to check in more often. John.
     
    Dogwood, Rich_S, Chris Hall and 15 others like this.
  2. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

    7,204
    12,481
    123
    Wow John, your layout is really nice. I enjoyed the video as well. Your "temporary" MS river bridge really does look good as well. (y)(y)(y) Thank you for sharing the video and pics.
     
  3. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    6,120
    16,763
    99
    Love those prototypical CTC turnout and signal controllers. I recall these were produced some years ago and remain impressed. (y)
     
    BNSF FAN and Martin Station like this.
  4. John Raid

    John Raid TrainBoard Member

    49
    116
    17
    I agree. I'm pretty pleased with them. My parts come from Alan and Mike at CTCparts.com. While I'd like to have a whole CTC board sitting somewhere it's just about as good to walk around as the dispatcher and throw switches and signal knobs during an operating session. It's also been pretty fun trying to match signal locations and manual (Blue Point) vs. powered (Tortoise) on the layout. I took a few liberties but for the most part numbers and locations match.

    The real CTC board used to sit in the Burlington depot. Now it is at Midwest Central in Mount Pleasant. I'm glad it still exists. Here's a picture of it at Midwest Central and one I found from the Burlington Depot with Phil who used to be the operator of the CTC board at one time.

    IMG_2373.JPG

    Phil at CTC Board in Burlington depot.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2021
    Rich_S, BoxcabE50, badlandnp and 7 others like this.
  5. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    6,120
    16,763
    99
    Yes, absolutely great that it's been saved. Thanks for the pictures! :) Some years ago the NC Transportation Museum activated a pair of their former SAL CTC machines and had veteran Dispatchers "working" their divisions and answering visitor's questions. It was quite a treat. In this era of microchips, it's easy to forget that the pulse-code and relay technology used by these vintage machines was cutting edge and faultless too, returning a code to the machine to affirm that track components were indeed in position. As a kid, I remember standing aside signal bungalows and hearing the rhythmic clicking of the relays inside.

    In a more modern adaptation, I shot this in 01/1980 at SOU's John Sevier Yard in Knoxville, TN.

    1980-01 004 Knoxville TN - for upload.jpg
     
    Rich_S, BoxcabE50, badlandnp and 5 others like this.
  6. Many Trains

    Many Trains TrainBoard Member

    61
    42
    10
    Really nice looking work, thanks for sharing!

    I've always liked BN, in fact it was the book Building the Burlington Northern RR in N Scale that got me really started with n scale. I don't model the BN now, but still have some BN locos and rolling stock tucked away.
     
    Hardcoaler and John Raid like this.
  7. John Raid

    John Raid TrainBoard Member

    49
    116
    17
    I've done some more work on the "temporary" Mississippi bridge. I now have the swing span mostly done and I scratch built the phone pole support on the east approach. I 3D printed the center pivot pier as a bunch of bents, sides, and concrete parts. Once panted and superglued together I'm very pleased.

    Center pivot pier on work bench.jpg

    As much as I would love to have an operating swing span to throw a wrench in operating sessions that will have to wait until someday when I build the "real" bridge.
    Mississippi bridge looking East.jpeg

    The phone line support was quite a bit more work than I wanted but I'm pleased with how it turned out.
    16. PLATE GIRDER WEST APPROACH SPANS, PIER AND ABUTMENT. VIEW TO SOUTHWEST..jpg
    Bridge West approach phone tower.JPG

    Now guard rails, edge boards, swing span control shack, and then everything is off to the paint shop. I would like to put operating lights on the bridge but that can wait a little longer. Oh, and I need to do the rest of the phone poles too. Maybe I can move on to Connet and Gladstone in a couple of weeks (or months).
     
    Rich_S, Joe Lovett, BigJake and 8 others like this.
  8. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

    2,584
    1,611
    60
    Wow! Drops mic! :eek:

    That second picture ought to be printed large and framed in your train room!
     
    John Raid likes this.
  9. John Raid

    John Raid TrainBoard Member

    49
    116
    17
    Thanks! I love watching a 40 car coal train rumble across the bridge and snake its way through the yard, station, and downtown.
     
  10. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    19,692
    13,076
    243
    Nice work on that swing bridge! I started as a BN fan, and moved on to D&RGW, but have lots of BN equipment as well.
     
    Kurt Moose, John Raid and BNSF FAN like this.
  11. John Raid

    John Raid TrainBoard Member

    49
    116
    17
    Thanks for the comments. And @HemiAdda2d I certainly have plans for a D&RGW engine or two as run through power.

    So I got the bridge painted a couple of weeks ago and decided I'm done for now. I still need to build the control house and center walkway. I would also like some lights on it too for night time operation but that can wait. But for a temporary bridge it sure beats plywood river crossings.

    Now I'm playing with signals.

    Burlington Bridge side view.jpg

    Burlington Bridge.jpg Burlington Swingspan.jpg
     
  12. John Raid

    John Raid TrainBoard Member

    49
    116
    17
    And here's a preview of my signals. I'm pretty sure I'm crazy for wanting scale operating signals complete with logic. I built a number of C/MRI nodes with Teensy Arduinos and wrote some software to interface them to JRMI.

    Teensy LDC Node.jpg

    I now have half the panels installed and wire to Teensy nodes and talking to JMRI. Here is the Wood Tower Panel. I'm waiting on more CTC levers and need to design the track schematic. Someday I would like to light it to show signal and switch feed back and train blocks.
    Wood Tower Panel.jpg

    Here's the first CB&Q signal bridge working. I had thought about putting an i2c IO expander on the signal bridge but I would have needed to layout a circuit board and that felt too much like work. It would have meant just 4 wires (power, ground, clock, and data) between the bridge and relay house but after looking at number of signal pictures there are some fat wires on the prototype. I ran one 3.3V to the bridge and then 40 AWG magnet wire from each LED. The Q-station signal shack hides the hole in the layout for the wires to go to the IO expander below the layout. The detectors are IR ones I built and illuminated from the bottom of the signal bridge. All of this talks to the Teensy node and then over C/MRI to JMRI. I still need to figure out how to get JMRI to route the switch but I do have it working with the crossover normal and following the bridge signal and Gladstone permissive signal.
    Connett signal bridge.jpg
     
  13. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

    7,204
    12,481
    123
    That all just looks fantastic! (y)(y)(y)
     
    John Raid likes this.
  14. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    19,692
    13,076
    243
    That signal bridge is cool, but wow, your "stand-in" river crossing is a superb price of kit!
     
    BNSF FAN, John Raid and badlandnp like this.
  15. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

    6,678
    5,049
    114
    Simply amazing for a "temporary" bridge!!:love:
     
    BNSF FAN, John Raid and badlandnp like this.
  16. John Raid

    John Raid TrainBoard Member

    49
    116
    17
    in the event anyone wants to print their own bridge, I posted my stl files for the bridge in the resource section (https://www.trainboard.com/highball...ngton-iowa-double-track-swingspan-bridge.179/). I also wrote up a brief assembly narration but I'm sure it won't add to anyone's understanding. The fixed span is 9" long and can be lifted on and off to access the track. If anyone is interested I can provide the Inventor Fusion or step files as well so you can make your own changes.
     
    BNSF FAN, MK and mtntrainman like this.
  17. John Raid

    John Raid TrainBoard Member

    49
    116
    17
    I created a quick video of 9615 going past some signals and over the bridge. Sorry for the shaky hand held shots. And forgive the misspelling of Connett on my panel.

     
  18. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    62,535
    8,502
    652
    Very nice! I also like your realistic train speed.
     
    John Raid and BNSF FAN like this.
  19. John Raid

    John Raid TrainBoard Member

    49
    116
    17
    Well there is a 12mph speed limit across the bridge. I wouldn’t want to get written up.
     
  20. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    19,692
    13,076
    243
    The Weed Weasels are always watching... you could add a trainmaster hiding in the brush with a radar gun and rulebook...:D

    All kidding aside, great work!
     

Share This Page