Sixth Annual International Spring Layout Party

okane Jan 24, 2008

  1. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

    OOOPS, I just re-read the rules, actually the pre-amble and realize that I jumped the gun also. But I can say that I too will be out for a week during the Party. Our Barbershop Quartet is delivering singing Valentines all that day, and we will be practising 6-8 times before then, so I guess I can say that I'll be tied up for about a believe me, don't you?
  2. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I'm trying a different method of making rocks. Make a heavy coat of spackling, crumple up some aluminum foil, and burnish the foil intot he wet spackling compound. Pull it off after a few minutes to set, and we'll see how it looks!
  3. ElvisTie

    ElvisTie TrainBoard Member

    I have to give Ed credit for pointing me here, thanks! I would like to join in if it's not too late. I have been working on my Roundhouse and Turntable renovation project for some time now and would like to use the Spring Layout Party 2008 as a way to keep me on track, my expected time of completion is actually in May 2008, but if this helps me get er done sooner, then all the better!

    The Roundhouse Turntable Renovation Project includes the following action plans: (% completed noted)
    1. Track
    · Complete inspection pits – 100%
    · Lay track - 100%
    · Wire track to DCC buss with SPST switches (includes step 2 below) isolating each for on/off positions - 100%
    · Mount and wire turntable motor to DPDT switch for reversing direction and also a rheostat for variable speed
    2. Fascia board
    · Mount fascia board from end of staging freight yard up to end of swing bridge – 100%
    · Cut and attach UP5 for area between middle of freight yard and roundhouse area - 100%
    · Mount SPST, DPDT, and rheostat for roundtable track and turntable
    3. Backdrop
    · Measure and cut hardboard for backdrop – 100%
    · Paint backdrop
    · Add clouds
    4. Roof
    · Remove existing roof from roundhouse building, then repair and reinforce the sub-roofing and support structure – 50%
    · Make roof a single removable piece so that inside details can be viewed when lifted – 100%
    · Add a simulated tar paper roof using either fine grit sand paper with the paper removed, or utilizing masking tape, both cut to 3' scale feet widths
    o Changed this idea to using corrugated card stock – 50%
    5. Detailing
    · Build and add details to the interior and exterior of the roundhouse – 10%
    · Repair windows
    · Repair wood trim
    · Paint roundhouse interior and exterior
    · Oil and fuel storage tanks built and placed in designated areas – 5%
    · Metal working machinery painted and added, includes a drill press, lathe tool maker and tool grinder
    · Various tools
    · Propane and acetylene tanks – 5%
    · Oil drums
    · Dumpsters
    · Metal storage cages
    · Industrial machinery loads
    · Compressor
    · Various MOW equipment including rail lifter
    · Weathering all details, roundhouse, turntable, and track
    6. Scenery
    · Gravel and asphalt roads and parking areas around the roundhouse – 75%
    · Ground material and ground cover (Sculptamold and scenery base a la Joe Fugate) – 90%
    · Paint ground scenery base – 75%
    · Apply dirt, grass, foliage, weeds, trees – 50%
    · Create hills and bearm built up to main line track behind roundhouse, benchwork edge and backdrop - 95%
    · Ballast added and weathering applied – 75%

  4. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman TrainBoard Member

    Here is a water tower I am repairing. It is about 4.5 inches tall. I don't think I will use it at the party, but I'm not sure. It is all scratch built by a friend of mine. Pretty nice job, I thought. He needed a water tower. Instead of complaining, he set out to get it done. Good attitude.

    I am going to use bridal veil to recreate the chain link fence around the bottom.
  5. okane

    okane TrainBoard Supporter

    WOW!!!!, You guys are sure anxious to PARTY this year. Well since some of you got started, let the FUN begin a few hours early.

    As for me I will get my plans, goals and before pictures posted over this weekend.

    Have Fun and Good Luck with your planned goals over the next 7 weeks.
  6. okane

    okane TrainBoard Supporter

    19 - Participants so far, remember you can join the fun at any time, it’s never too late.

    ED M
    Doug A
    David R
    Another ATSF Admirer
    Flash Blackman
    Wolfgang Dudler
    Riverotter 1948
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2008
  7. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

    I've already installed the Digitrax decoders in my Kato NW2s (mentioned last week)...although I'm still doing a little tweaking with the TCS MP15 installation...the engine hesitates or ignores the signal completely when reversing directions. The hard-wiring of the TCS decoder into my Atlas RS1 did not go well...still hoping for a miracle resuscitation.

    In the 1970s, the P&PU served 12 different RRs in the Peoria area. There were dozens of interchanges and junctions, and lots of shared trackage rights. I've reproduced the P&PU's connections with all 12 RRs on my the layout track plan is almost as complicated as the prototype's. It takes several visits for operators to figure out where they should go. Sooo....This Layout Party I plan to put up more labels and diagrams around the layout, master my DS64s so a dispatcher can cascade turnouts to route trains through the more complicated areas, and supplement my maps with CLIP Manuals (Car Location and Industry Profile Manuals) to help the operators function more independently instead of relying on me to tell them where to spot which type of car.

    Some pics showing the more confusing areas:
    Pekin's Big 4 Jct sees traffic from the P&PU, IC, Peoria & Eastern (NYC/PC/Conrail), Santa Fe, Chicago & Illinois Midland, and BN coal trains and CNW coal trains.

    This pic was taken standing in the Peoria Helix. BN and CN trains come off of the Peoria Helix here, and new operators are frequently confused about where to park their trains.

    Bridge Jct where all RRs cross the Illinois River at Peoria on the P&PU Bridge since the 1970s.
    Darst Street where the BN crosses the CNW next to CNW's junction with the P&PU.

    By the end of this Layout Party, a dispatcher will be able to cascade turnouts for operators instead of making them guess which switch activates which turnout, and what combination of thrown and closed turnouts lets them travel down the helix behind those trees and view blocks.

    I've been chomping at the bit to get some work done on the East Peoria Yard...specifically the highway bridge that crosses the north end the Yard.
    This pic shows where the bridge will go, and I'll get some grass and trees in front and behind this end of the yard.

    The Rix Sectional Bridge that I had originally thought to use is too of the 10 panels is resting on the strip of foam I may end up using some variation on foam board, plastic, or hardboard (Masonite).
  8. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

    My baseline is that the main loop of track is down and powered, as seen below.....




    Next projects....
    - Build & install Covered Bridge for location at far end under electrical breaker panel
    - Build & install "Low-boy" trestles (2) for location opposite turntable, etc.
    - Build and position various structures to determine precise locations for sidings.

    These projects probably will require most if not all of the 7 weeks allowed for this party.

    This is gonna be fun...!
  9. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

    Let's Get this Party Started!

    OK, it seems like Feb1 has taken forever to get here! I'll admit that I did cheat a little and get some progress done on my goals, but as I said I will also miss a week or two during the deal so it was necessary.

    For this week, here's what I have planned...
    -Finish a couple more sections of my d/t/s plan. This will probably be done during the week next week since I do not have access to the layout during the week.
    -Feeder-mania -Last weekend I got my concrete tie flex painted so I can now proceed with adding feeders in prep for permanent placement of the track. I will also be adding feeders to the rest of the hidden trackage "while the iron is hot".
    -Mount BDL168, RX4, and SE8C on a hinged plexiglass panel along with various terminal strips, wire management, etc. Wire it all together, including soldering the mass of wires to the edge connectors "while the iron is hot".
    -Finish the Walthers bridge. Another area I cheated on a little bit and it's probably about 80% complete. The remaining items are (1) finish weathering the bridge, (2) weather and affix the ME bridge track, and (3) final assembly.
    -Finish wiring the DS64 for staging.

    That sounds like a lot, and it might end up being, but if things go well these are all very achievable. (plus, I am planning on taking a comp day on Monday before I lose it, so that will help) If time allows, the natural next step is putting all the track back together, wiring everything up, and testing out all the hidden trackage, turnouts, detection, etc. Also, as I am doing the weathering on the bridge track, I may play around with weathering some of the Atlas C55 flex as well.


    Goals (Current completion % in parenthesis):
    -Finish "first pass" of detection/transponding/signalling plan. (15%-->40%; see blog for more details)
    -Finish laying track and wiring feeders on the bottom level. (50%-->80%)
    -Get detection installed and working for hidden staging/Fort Worth. (5%-->50%)
    -Lay roadbed/track on top level section to get it ready for testing and connection to bottom level. (20%)
    -Finish building, painting, and weathering Walthers truss bridge (80%-->100%)
    Optional (Current completion % in parenthesis):
    -Weather track on bottom level. (20%-->50%)
    -Install Tortoise machines on bottom level (0%)
    -Get transponding working in staging (0%-->25%)
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2008
  10. Ed M

    Ed M Passed away May 2012 In Memoriam

    My "Mission Statement"

    Well, I’m ready to start this year’s layout party. Seems I haven’t been very motivated to do much on my layout since the last party I participated in two years ago. Ooops, just checked, and that’s three years ago. Now I feel even worse. Anyway, for those of you who didn’t read through all the posts from earlier layout parties, here’s some background on the layout (yeah, I copied some of this from last time), a rough track plan, some ‘before’ shots, and a mission statement for what I hope to accomplish.


    Five years ago, as I approached retirement, I figured that it was the right time to reactivate a fairly dormant, but life-long, hobby of armchair railroading. Like a lot of you, I had Lionel trains as a kid, HO as a teenager, then let everything drop during a life and career. I did get introduced to N scale, and actually constructed an Ntrak module, while living in Houston in the early 80’s. That was the closest I ever came to having an operating layout.

    We had been planning to retire down here in Mexico for several years, and were working on the house bit by bit. So I knew that I wouldn’t have much space for a layout, and that model railroad supplies are scarcer than hen’s teeth down here.

    Just before retiring I finally decided on a track plan, loosely based on the Atlas layout N-17, The Scenic & Relaxed, in their book “Nine N Scale Railroads”. I purchased the 3’ x 6’- 8” hollow core wood door, some ¾” blue foam, and more than enough track, roadbed, and switches to do the layout. Before the move I actually managed to get the foam down, using a cookie cutter method for the inclines. I also got some of the roadbed glued down.

    Here’s an approximate track plan for the layout. There have been some minor adjustments that haven’t been reflected in an “as built” track plan, but they aren’t significant.


    Just to help clarify things, here are a few details on the layout:
    Scale – N
    Size – 3’-0” x 6’-8”
    Base – hollow core wood door, with ¾”foam
    Roadbed – cork
    Rail – Atlas code 80, mostly flex track, Atlas switches, manual, mostly #4
    Control – DC, dual cab with blocks (using Atlas Selectors)
    Era – 1945-1960 (roughly)
    Railroad – FCVN Ferrocarril Veracruz Norte (North Veracruz Railroad) – a freelance road set in the northeast section of Veracruz state in Mexico, with connection to NdeM in Tampico.

    Layout construction and current status

    I boxed the layout up for the move, and it sat in the new home for about 8 months before I was finally able to uncrate it and set it up (supposedly temporarily) in the house. Then, in a spurt of pent up energy, I managed to get most of track laid and just barely started on making some hills out of foam.

    Here’s a shot of how the layout looked before the layout party.


    And here’s more or less how it looked after the party. Decent progress.


    In the 3 years since the party, it’s advanced only to this point. Kind of sad that I haven’t spent more time on it. Still no trees, very little shrubbery, still the same rough mock-up buildings I had 3 years ago. About 30% ballasted. Actually, this shot is about 18 months old. But there have been minimal changes since the photo was taken.


    Goals for this Layout Party

    I don’t expect miracles, so I’m deliberately going to keep my goals limited for the party. Several of the items on the list are sort of new for me, and that’s part of the reason why I’ve resisted starting them. That, and the fact that I’m just lazy and a procrastinator!

    I’m going to work only in one corner of the layout, the near corner in the photo above. This is an area of about 3-4 square feet. My goals for this period are:
    • paint the ties
    • (maybe) hand paint the rails
    • ballast the track
    • decide on a tree making method, make and plant trees
    • plant shrubs, bushes, general underbrush
    • upgrade the quality of the mock-ups I have in this area (they’ll still be mock-ups, but maybe better quality), and attach to the base
    • do some detailing in the area

    I also have a non-party goal of operating trains for a bit each day (maybe except for the days when I’m painting rail or ballasting).

    Yeah, it’s not much, but for a confirmed armchair model railroader it’s a stretch.


  11. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I got my tunnel portal for Tunnel 10 built and painted with primer. I need to take some pics!

    DOUBLEJK TrainBoard Member

    Well I started my share of this party off with a trip to Denver to Lowes for supplies for the bench work.
    But I came home with some help.:tb-biggrin:

    They had a 10" sliding miter saw with laser and a 10" table saw on sale and I got both of em.

    That aughta speed my progress up just a tad over my ole hand tools.

    I got em put together and started my next 8' section of bench. They work great. Nice straight and square cuts with little effort.

    I also finished primer painting most of the 2 completed sections of benchwork.

    Unfortuanately I have to work a 16 hour shift tonight so probably wont accomplish much more till next week.

    Awsome start some of you have made....inspirational it is... continue the excellent progress guy's.:tb-wink:
  13. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Here's some new pics! Some of these shots show the aluminum foil/spackle rocks....

    Tunnel 8 west portal:


    The actual portal:


    I think I might cut the hill back a bit more so I can get a more gradual slope on the south wall.

    Here's a great shot by Alaska GP49 on T8:

    Here's another fantastic Alaska GP49 shot on Tunnel 8:


    And my modest attempt to recreate it:

  14. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

  15. okane

    okane TrainBoard Supporter

    Compressed or not that is a wonderful example of fantastic Modeling skills. looks great, congratulations Hemi
  16. gtMark

    gtMark TrainBoard Member

    Progress on the Flat Creek Branchline with "Fall Tree's" is being made...

    Hope this link works... Seems I can't figure out how to make my photos appear here, Dang it all..
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2008
  17. poppy2201

    poppy2201 TrainBoard Member

    I am recuperating from a lower back strain; however I did want to join the party. I am starting with a blank slate (36"x80") hollow core door:


    For those who are unfamiliar with the plan here is an image with some scenery details that I hope to get accomplished over the next 7 weeks:


    This first week will probably only see getting a frame around the door, legs attached and maybe the extruded foam.
  18. Cleggie

    Cleggie TrainBoard Member


    Nice going, compressed or not you are capturing the flavour of the area you are modelling really well, inspiring stuff.

    My progress:

    Started at helix 1 just filling in the gaps and applying the base layers for the scenery.


    You may notice some trees lying on the top, these are my first attempts at making the several dozen pine trees I will need on the layout. Improvement needed.

    Carved up some styrene and then wet some news paper gluing it down with PVA white glue. Fills the gaps nicely.


    Another shot looking back from Helix 1.


    Appled a layer of casting plaster over top, tinted with some black water based poster paint.


    The rear main line will dissappear into a tunnel where the sloping styrene is. Just have to remember to make the top of the tunnel removeable.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2008
  19. Another ATSF Admirer

    Another ATSF Admirer TrainBoard Member

    Cleggie: looking good, keep it up.
    Hemi: ditto more so.

    Wandered past the rules to check what I'm supposed to post this week and according to bullet #5 I'm not even supposed to be here - since I have been working on my layout up until now. <whistles innocently>
    But I'm here anyway! :D

    Seems I'm all out of sorts, because I accomplished all of the first step by Saturday and still had 6 days to go. It looks like waving sheets of hardboard around and trying to staple them in place and square is a more-than-one-person effort, so I might have to defer that one a while. I have got a friendly random helper, so I'll just have to wait for him to be on-hand.

    So, what did I get up to?
    * Added a fascia to the framing above the workbench (would that make it a Valance?) and behind the monitor. Used this fascia to hide the lighting for the workbench.
    [​IMG] | click to enlarge
    It's "okay", but not "perfect", so I may tweak the tubes yet.

    * Built all four staging deck sectional boxes along my now-typical fashion of 1x2 dimensional timber screwed together with a 7mm (1/4in) plywood top. Just for fun this time I've stapled and glued the tops down. Faster and maybe neater than screwing, although the glue takes a day to cure, and there's a real trick to stapling 7mm thick ply!
    My layout room is now a .. Sea .. of plywood.

    Plans for this week (before Tuesday 12 February):
    • (optional, pending help) staple hardboard backdrop to walls
    • Sort out the permanent wiring (mains rated and DCC bus) before it gets too awkward
    • Possibly draw track on plywood
    • Possibly add cork roadbed to plywood
    • Possibly carve up plywood subroadbed from helix yard ladder (bottom right of that last picture) to helix start (just behind the camera) and put into place
    Methinks trying to get actual track down, although tempting, would be rushing things a bit too much.
    Look forward to reading how the rest of y'all get on!
  20. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Thanks, guys! I just revamped the T8 west portal scenery a bit, because the terrain was too vertical. It too has the spackle/aluminum foil rocks now.

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