T.H.E.R.R. Reborn!

mtntrainman Jul 9, 2012

  1. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    It's time to start posting this...

    The 'Back-story'

    T.H.E.R.R. first came to be in the spring of 2007. It is a FREELANCE
    railroad. No prototypical anything. I run what I want...when I want.
    I don't care if the locomotives or rolling stock have never seen the
    light of day in the 1:1 world. If the trackwork would never make the
    cut in the real world...oh well. It's my railroad...I'll run it my
    way !! LOL.

    That being said:

    It started as a 30x36 piece of plywood with a LL UP train set. It
    soon grew to a 36x80 HCD set up on my dresser. By summer it had grown
    to 3 HCD's in a spare room. Two moves later ( We are renters and the
    economy suxs even for people renting their homes out...lots of
    foreclosures which means lots of moving for us) :-( I was getting
    tired of tearing down and rebuilding layouts !! It wasn't long before
    a friend suggested I take possession of his old travel trailer he was
    using for storage to make a BIGGER and more permanent layout ! It was
    about this time I found TrainBoard. Got tons of great ideas and put
    many to paper and use on 'T.H.E.R.R. Trailer' layout. Things where
    going well...through 2 more moves. Just hook up to the trailer and
    move it...park it...level it...and run trains even before stuff was
    moved into the house...LOL. Then came the winter of 2011. We got
    slammed by about 3 feet of heavy wet snow. It was at least 2 days
    before I could even get out to 'T.H.E.R.R. Trailer' This photo was
    taken 2 days after the snow storm !!


    When I finally did get out there...my heart sank. The roof had sagged
    so bad water was running down thru the roof vent and sidewalls! I
    tried to add steel roof supports...but the very next snow...the roof
    sagged again. I knew then that it was time to retire the old
    T.H.E.R.R. Trailer. :-(

    I stripped everything I could salvage and put it all in storage totes
    in the shed.

    T.H.E.R.R. #2 is/was a 32 inch HCD mounted on my bedroom wall. I made
    a post about it here on TB awhile back. I used the door frame and
    all and made the layout with the ability to fold up and be out of the
    way and only be about 4 inches off the wall. It is/was still being
    used. :) I will strip the Unitrack off it for the new layout...soon


    I spotted an older (1987) 29 foot RV that had been stored on the rear
    lot of an RV sales company.


    I turned and and drove straight to the back...after seeing a For Sale
    sign in the window from the highway. I couldn't believe the price the
    guy wanted. I even had THE Wife get out of the van and check that I
    wasn't seeing things ! I called the guy immediately. That's when I
    got "The rest of the story". It seems a bunch of illegal immigrants
    found the RV being stored and decided to make it their new home !!
    After they where found out and arrested the owner was notified and
    went to check the damage and immediately put it up For Sale. I was
    able to obtain the keys later and went in to check it out. I wont
    post pictures of the inside back then...Lets just say it was
    disgusting. No utilities and they where staying in there at least 3
    months ( I'll let you use your imagination for a really gross mental
    picture !! ). Grrrrrrrrr !!!

    I talked it over with THE Wife. We decided we didn't care about the
    interior so much. We weren't going to use anything but the power
    inverter, AC and heater anyways. The rest would be all stripped and
    the walls sheet rocked. I finally got with the guy who owned it in
    May. We had been 'wheeling and dealing' on the phone for 3 months. He
    also told me he had put some 'STA-BIL Fuel Stabilizer" in the tank
    when he stored the thing...5 years prior ! That stuff is some awesome
    additive when storing gasoline power anything !!! I really was buying
    this RV on blind faith that it would even run. The guy showed up at
    the lot and accepted my final offer. I wont say how much I paid...but
    will tell ya it was well under $1000.00 !!!

    I got a clear title and the keys.

    I bought a battery and two 5 gallon gas cans at Wal-Mart. After
    hooking up the battery and dumping 10 gallons of new gas in the old
    beast...I shot some starting fluid in the carburetor. It fired and
    died. (At least I knew the engine wasn't frozen up). One more shot of
    starting fluid and she started ! After a bit of rough idling it
    smoothed right out. I drove it home with a friend following close
    behind...stopping only to top off the propane tank and put $100.00
    worth of gas in her.


    Lets just say it has taken me over 6 weeks just to get it where it is


    Being 63...disabled with chronic arthritis...and top that off with a
    heart attack and congestive heart failure after a car accident last
    year...it sure has slowed this old SOB down. Its depressing at times
    I tell ya !!! :-(
    rhikdavis likes this.
  2. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter


    The settlement check from the accident means I have some cash flow
    that THE Wife.( The CFO of T.H.E.R.R. ) has given me a budget on. So
    far I have bought 10 unfinished base cabinets at Lowes. All the
    drawers will have the drawer faces taken off...and the drawers
    removed and the drawer faces put back on with hinges. The sink bases
    have no drawers...just the face plates. All the smaller top panels
    are going to be hinged so I have access to everything under the
    benchwork and some fold down panels to mount all the electronics on.



    The rebuilding inside 'T.H.E.R.R RV' is more exhausting then ripping
    almost everything out of her. My son came into town for this past
    weekend and he and I got the heater all working great. He used to
    work in HVAC and says this heater is in excellent condition for its
    age. That's one worry less. We will find out come winter... LOL. The
    rooftop AC works great btw...which is good since this is a miserably
    hot summer so far...even at 6000+ feet in elevation in Arizona !!
    I had checked with an RV service guy. He assured me the skeleton of
    this Pace Arrow RV is all square steel tubing and the roof will
    support even the heaviest of snows. I didn't feel 100% about that
    since all the interior support walls where torn out. So as you can
    see in the last photo...I added two 1 1/2 inch square steel tubing
    supports INSIDE...just in front and behind the roof AC. I feel a bit
    more secure in the fact that the roof should hold up well now in the
    winters. I don't want a repeat of 'T.H.E.R.R. Trailer' roof problems

    Well...enough for now. Thanks for reading so far. I am going to take
    a few days off from working in there. I ache in places I didn't even
    know a guy could ache in !!!

    I will continue to update my progress on this post.
    Believe it or not...I.m still having FUN !! :) :)
    BarstowRick likes this.
  3. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

    Ahh a ready to run train room. Literally. I like it. And no need to tear down for a move, even better. Just put it in gear and drive it there in comfort. Looks like there will be a a good amount of mainline run, at least a scale mile or more.

    And I see my idea of using cabinet bases as the foundation for a layout has come to life. Nice finish to the layout front and room for enclosed storage under the layout.

    The drawers can be the point for most of the control cabs and wiring connections. The idea I have is to mount all that on a board that slips into the drawer with a long enough wiring harness that allows the drawer to be slid in and out and quite possibly to use a multi wire male/female connector to connect to the layout wiring. That way if a switch controling a switch machine goes bad the connection can be broken easily, and the insert removed from the drawer to take to the workbench for repairs.

    This is going to be fun to follow and see what you work out.
  4. Jim Reising

    Jim Reising In Memoriam

    Well done, George! A man after my own heart. And the lady's not too bad either - she knows how to keep a guy around and happy. I almost envy you having a blank slate.
  5. maxairedale

    maxairedale TrainBoard Member

    Hi George,

    Nice find with the RV. Do you have any idea what your track plan will be?
  6. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky November 18, 2022 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

    Yay! This will be great. Looking forward to seeing the progress.
  7. MRL

    MRL TrainBoard Member

    A whole nother meaning to driving your layout to set up at a show...
  8. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    Thnxs John...

    I got the idea when THERR was in the travel trailer. I bought a half dozen of those 4 drawer plastic cabibets from wal mart to use in there for storage. This time around...because of the window height at the back...the total height of the layout is about 36 inches. The kitchen cabinets are 35 in height. I think this is really going to work out fine. I bought a mechanics stool (you can sorta see it in the bottom right of the last pic) and can scoot up and down the aisle pretty well.
  9. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    Thnxs Jim...

    A thumbs up from a modeler like you means a lot. Your layout has given me lots of inspiration thru the years. I only hope I can achieve a small portion of your talent.
  10. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    Hi Gary...

    I have a rough drawing of the track plan. I'll see if I can scrap it up...scan it...and post it. I'll be using Unitrack this time around which will allow be sme latitude in changing things as I go. Most of the plans from the get go are in my head...which is a scary place...trust me...LOL
  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Nice! Very, very creative! Can't wait to follow more progress.
  12. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    Thnxs Rick...

    Your use of Unitrack was one of the deciding factors on the plan. Fifer's is another
  13. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter


    Just wish there where shows closwer then 1000 from my house. This things has a 454 chevy motor. I am sure I will be able to literally watch the gas gauge go down :-(
  14. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    Ohhhhh..there will lots of progess shots. I just bought a new camera for the occasion...LOL
  15. nscalerone

    nscalerone TrainBoard Member

    I LIKE IT!! I have always wanted to do that very thing.............when I saw there would be "progress shots", I immediately subscribed to the thread. Best of luck!!
  16. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    So far I have:

    A Digitrax Super Empire Builder Xtra Set. I figured that out fairly easy. I bought a few extra Digitrax UP5 Universal Panels so I can move up and down the aisle easier with the trains. A Digitrax PR3 USB Programmer/Interface that I have no clue how to use but bought in hopes of programming decoders easier. And 2 PM42 Quad Power Managers that I hope will save me from pulling what hair I have have left outta my head down the road.

    Now All I have to do is figure out all the wiring...and I have no idea where to start. The plan is in my head...but all scrambled at the moment...LOL.
  17. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    I am buying both new and used Unitrack whenever I see some for sale. I have nowhere near enough yet. The trackplan shows a double main...but will be single main with passing siding until I get more track pieces and can connect passing sidings together making them even longer until some day it all comes out as double main :)

    That's the plan anyways. It works in my head...hopefully it will also work as I start laying it all out on the layout...hmmmm
  18. daniel_leavitt2000

    daniel_leavitt2000 TrainBoard Member

    "He's using the RV for what?!?"
  19. Allen H

    Allen H TrainBoard Supporter


    Daniel, I had the same thought when I seen his first pic of the new home!
  20. maxairedale

    maxairedale TrainBoard Member

    All of my plans come from that same scary place LOL

Share This Page