hopping aboard

Tom Crofton Mar 9, 2019

  1. Tom Crofton

    Tom Crofton TrainBoard Member

    I am glad so many bits of info are shared on the model forums, I have been reading back-threads on other forums and found a link to here.

    I'm a retired carpenter with a small grass fed beef operation and am planning a permanent layout for a wing of my basement to be able to build stuff in our long winters.
    I've been told my plans are ambitious, but here goes a quick outline.
    With a sawmill and small cabinet shop, I can't see buying pre-made bridges etc
    I have experimented making my own ties and structural shapes, Box beams and I beams in HO.
    I am going to use home made cabinet boxes, with the side panels made 4' high to hold a spline system made from my own 1/4 lumber. The space above the normal three foot high counter will be access for wires , staging areas, etc, and the Fascia will then cover the area above the cabinet drawers.
    I'm going to use mini-air cylinders from Clippard to operate the turnouts and any other actions I can.
    I'm building a small, 4 car ferry from a paper model plan, out of wood veneer, and have it move on it's own powered cart across to the other side of the layout. The ramp to the ferry will be raised and lowered by small air cylinders
    I'm planning an air operated hump yard and will use puffs of air to control the speed of the cars.
    I'm going to model a small logging operation and have a wood chip to power plant function with a rotary dumper operated by air cylinders.
    I'm going to handlay track and use a walking cab plan with DC engines and separate blocks
    Each small specialty area will have its own cab so several people can operate together
    I know this is a lot to take on but my interest is having a lot of action, and get local kids involved in the hobby.

    One of the lessons I have learned in reading so many threads is the wide range of specialties in this "sport"
    From super detailed rolling stock to operations to layouts; really fascinating tangents.

    My proprietary line will be called Skyview Lines and will use a color scheme I have used before for our farm. It will be a hunter green on the bottom like hills, with a medium blue sky above and white letters.

    Most of the building will be next year but I'm working on some of pieces such as bridges and the ferry as my research gets finalized. I am getting some detailed info on bridges and will soon start a 150' double track Pratt Truss bridge from my own cherry lumber (tight grain, easy to machine)(Walnut works well for ties, open grain and brown color, ready for a little weathering)
    Thanks again fro the info, I recently read about matching DC engines on this site and found the technical explanations fantastic.
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Welcome to TrainBoard!

    You write "I've been told my plans are ambitious,..." They do appear to be so. However, that does not mean they can't be accomplished. Just take your time. Try to focus so you are completing manageable segments of the whole concept.
  3. chandlerusm

    chandlerusm TrainBoard Member

    Well, I’m certainly looking forward to some pictures!

    Sounds great. Have fun!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
  4. fitz

    fitz Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Welcome to Trainboard, Tom. That is quite a list of projects, and we will certainly look forward to your progress. Please post photos as you go along.
  5. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

    Hi Tom, welcome. Remember this is only a hobby, meant to give you relaxation. If you don't like something you just made, or realize it could (should?) have been done differently, it's not cast in concrete. Merely disassemble it, salvage what's possible, and make it as you now envision it should be done. Please ask for any help, especially "I don't like how this turned out. What can I do to make it better?" Looking forward to seeing what you create.
  6. Tom Crofton

    Tom Crofton TrainBoard Member

    thanks everyone
    the construction parts are in my field of knowledge, I have installed very fancy trim and paneling on commercial jobs. The spline system really intrigues me because my other main option is layers of foam and I'm trying to get away from purchased, manufactured stuff when I can use my own trees. By the way, I mill real railroad ties from hardwood logs and sell to Stella Jones in Bangor,WI occasionally. Building cabinets as a base will get me off the hook for turning our storage room into a train room. I've been playing with AnyRail6 to draw out my layout. I have building our house and farm operation for 30 years so I know what going slow is like.
    For hand laying track I'm most impressed with the Proto 87 system of gluing rail to tie plates but think I'd rather fabricate points and frogs my self so I will probably just buy the plates and make the rest. I have a couple starter sets we bought for our kids, but I want to use that material for the hidden staging lower level.
    I have experience using molding plaster to make architectural moldings so i will use a hardware cloth/plaster base between the splines for landscaping.
    I'm drawing the line at DC because electronics are not my forte. I like the idea of the old block system.
    My wife is 4H leader and I want to set this up for a handful of kids (or future grandkids) to operate, and cooperate!

    My first two chunks are the ferry (downloaded paper model, vendor picture attached) that I will blow up to HO and trace onto veneer for the model; and a bridge mentioned before. I found the scale sizes of structural steel for bridges on the nmra.org site
    I have made a few of the structural shapes and am planning on using the streamline version where punched box beams replace laced boxes. Those laces are real small.

    I will keep reading and learning. I'm very interested in upgrading cheap used cars and weathering but that will come down the line.
    We started tapping our maple trees today and sap boiling may start this week.

    thanks for your encouragement. I will photo document my progress and share thumb_HsB09.jpg
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  7. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

    Beautiful vessel. OK, computer image, but it's well done.
  8. Tom Crofton

    Tom Crofton TrainBoard Member

    the picture is of a completed paper model
    you can download the whole package and print on cardstock
    I did that but want to scale it to ho and then make from veneer. I like the size and the idea of taking a few cars to an island
    attached is zip file that has the pages to print and instructions

    Attached Files:


    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

    Welcome aboard TrainBoard Tom!

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