The Little Rock Line

Bendtracker1 Dec 31, 2011

  1. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    My B&B gang hustled to get the new Deck bridge pressed into service before the New Year.
    I had to pay them double time, but they got it done.




    The bridge, abutments and piers are just temporarily installed.
    I still have a lot of work to do it before I can stick a fork in it and call it done.
    I plan to leave things just as they are until I get the second bridge in place and
    leave them loose so I can remove them when I get started on the scenery.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
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  2. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    So, let's get them put in, eh?? :whistle:
     
  3. barlowfaudio

    barlowfaudio TrainBoard Member

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    Killer work Allen! Good tip on using the MDF.
     
  4. glennac

    glennac TrainBoard Member

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    Incredible work there! Almost TOO realistic. If those cracks get any worse the DOT will come through and shut you down until that bridge has been retrofitted with upgrades. :eek:
     
  5. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yeah yeah yeah, I'm working on it, wanna help? ;)


    Thanks Craig! Appreciate the props! (y)
    The MDF turned out to be really easy to use. I thought it might to hard to work with, but a sharp blade worked it like butter!



    Thanks Glen! I wasn't sure how well they'd turn out being the first time and all.
    Well if the DOT dicks show up I'll have to stick some plywood over them and paint it. Maybe I can fool them for a spell longer. :D
     
  6. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Moving right along.....
    Thanks to the long weekends and short work weeks due to this holiday season, I pushed myself to get the scene this far along. Not sure how much more I'll get done to this area? Planning to have an ops session the middle of Feb so I don't want it to be torn up for that.


    After getting a location laid out for the Truss bridge I started removing the remaining ceiling tile and foam for the river area. I had to re-align the drill track slightly to line up with the bridge.


    One thing I didn't put much thought into was the differences in the length of the two bridges and the close proximity to each other. This kind of messed with the shape of the river as I had envisioned it to be a fairly evenly wide body of water running through the scene. I gave thought of adding a 40' deck bridge to the Truss bridge but since I already had the guardrails installed and bent I didn't want to mess that up.


    This would have given a more even width of the river, but a little head scratching told me to keep the river not much wider than the Truss bridge and when it passes under the Deck bridge to keep it under the middle and right 80' span. The area under the leftmost span will be more of a raised sandy area, but still mostly covered in trees. So I think it should still work just fine?

    [​IMG]

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    A short while later I heard the distant rumble of something heading south. Within a few minutes GP7 #4434 was leading the SB LRMP-W over the Deck bridge.While I was getting the shot setup, I noticed another GP in the background, the El Dorado Switcher (an ex-drgw GP7) was dragging what must be a very long cut of cars onto the Truss bridge while working the yard in El Dorado!

    [​IMG]

    As always, bit more on the blog...
     
  7. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    Would love to come help, but.......the roads are kinda snow bound twixt here n there! :D
    Those bridges look great installed! Can't wait to see the finished scene. But I will try to be more patient.... :coffee:
     
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  8. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wow! It's been almost 10 months since I last posted here and I had think why that was?
    IIRC I was having issues either finding my thread or having problems posting to it?

    I know around the first of the year I became extremely busy as I was in the process of shutting down my woodshop permanently.
    I had been helping a customer who had lost his help and one thing lead to another, he made me an offer I couldn't refuse and about the same time, a guy walked into my shop and inquired about purchasing my building and property.

    Long story short, I sold the property and began employment with my old customer doing pretty much what I had been doing on my own, but without having to deal with the public and having to feel like First State Bank of Allen's Custom Cabinets. I'm doing much better, making a steady income with some bennies and not having to deal with the public. Now I just punch in and out and let him deal with the loonies.

    Now back to the trains....

    Looks like I left off with the bridges between Calion and El Dorado? After things slowed down a bit we had an op session and for the most part, things played out well. The only major issue we faced was with the newly installed DCC Specialties PSX circuit breakers.
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-rock-mkt-bn-and-mopac.html
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/02/op-session-13.html

    Evidently I had shorts all along but never seen them with the Digitrax PM42's I had hooked up. The DCC Specialties CB's being solid state are really fast! The shorting as most probably know of, was when a loco would pass over the frog rails and touch both rails....Zap! This would have to be addressed sooner or later, but later sounded good right now.
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/01/psx-circuit-breakers-installed-and.html

    After the session I knew I had a job ahead me. Not feeling like tackling this gremlin right now, I diverted my attention to something I've been wanting to do for awhile. I wanted to get a more realistic passenger service running and retire Amtrak. So in March I started working on what would become a mail train, using only a few cars and the rest of the train made up of TOFC's.
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/03/rock-island-rockets-pt2.html
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/03/rock-island-rockets-pt3.html
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-rockets-defy-discontinuance.html

    After getting the mail trains done, I had the chance to finally upgrade the rest of throttles to the Duplex system and sent them all off to Digitrax. I got them back after only a month. I had previously sent in a DT402r and UT4r so that when I sent the rest off, I would be without a way to run stuff.
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/04/upgrade.html

    While I was waiting on the return of my throttles I got back to the track realignment that I started a few months earlier. This time I got started on what I thought was going to be a huge project which thankfully turned out to be relatively simple. The track between Haskell and Winnfield was laid in haste to get the trains rolling and was made a little tighter than it should have been. It's worked up to this point but when I started running longer 85-89' cars it started to become a problem. So out came the track and was able to relay it without much demolition needed. It was well worth the hassle and things are working pretty good now.
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/04/haskell-to-winnfield-realignment.html
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/05/haskell-to-winnfield-realignment-pt2.html
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/05/tofcs-on-new-track.html

    In doing this work I also revamped the town of Winnfield as well, not much but it needed a bit of realigning and while I was at it, I added another small industry there and also added a house track at Ruston where I found out the Rock would park an open hopper filled with Limestone that the locals would apply to the fields in the spring.
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/05/honey-whats-all-that-commotion-down.html
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/06/south-side-complete.html

    With these two spurs added, all of the trackwork on the south side of the layout had been completed. Now I could take aim on the north side of the layout. This included trackwork in Fordyce and Haskell. It also included a new industry at Haskell, something that had been planned all along but wasn't really sure what I wanted or how to squeeze it in? It was a small'ish fertilizer plant that actually belonged to an adjacent railroad that had went belly up and The Rock was asked to lay rails to serve it (at least that's how I seen it in my story line). The idea of this new industry born from the need to even out the switching work of the two Turns (locals). The Winnfield turn always took a lot longer to work and most of the crew would squabble over who gets to run it. The Haskell turn would only take about half as long to run and it seemed to be over before it got started. So I wanted something that added a bit of work and time to complete compared to the Winnfield turn.
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/06/gavilon-fertilizer-llc.html
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/06/gavilon-fertilizer-llc-takes-shape.html
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/06/reversal-at-gavilon.html

    Once I finished with the trackwork I knew I needed to address the shorting on the Peco turnouts. Doing a little digging on the net and chatting with some buddies it seemed I had two options, file a "V" groove in the rails and fill it with epoxy or try shimming the guard rails on all the PECO turnouts? Ugh. The shimming would have a second positive affect tightening the sloppy gauge within the turnouts. I tried both with good luck, but ultimately decided to shim the turnouts. All fifty of them on the mainline.
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/08/shorts.html
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/08/shims.html
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/08/all-shimmed.html

    I completed this task near the end of August and it seemed to work very well. I tested a train with KATO E units, which would always trip the breakers. So far so good no shorts.

    With this completed I scheduled a session for the 7th of October. I now had a little time to kill and needed to make some pipe loads for Ozark Irrigation, which reminds me, this industry replaced Dixie Woods in Fordyce. I decided I wanted to have few more flats to move on the layout because I removed another small industry in Haskell when I squeezed in the Fertilizer plant. Good lord I've done so much, I'm having a hard time keeping it straight......
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/09/pipe-loads.html
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/09/pipe-loads-complete.html

    This pretty much brings us current. One thing that bugged me was how to make my car tabs easier to view in empty open hoppers and empty woodchip hoppers?
    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.com/2017/09/i-cant-see-damn-tabs.html

    I now have a week before the next session and I still need to do a lot of cleaning and the clocks ticking.
     
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  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    It has been a long time! Too long. But am glad to read your stress level is much reduced! (y)
     
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  10. WFOJeff

    WFOJeff TrainBoard Member

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    WOWSERS, that was quite the return post (y)
     
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  11. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Sorry about the length, but yes, I'm glad the stress level has been reduced at least somewhat.
    But never fear, there is always more than enough stress elsewhere ready to step up and fill any void. :(

    I'll try to keep things a little more up to date.
     
  12. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well it was this or make several posts?
    Figured this was the easiest then I just added the links. ;)
     
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  13. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett TrainBoard Member

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    Allen, great job on your blog!!! I particularly like the fertilizer plant.

    Joe
     
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  14. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks for the kind words Joe.
    Yeah I'm hoping it adds to the operational interest as intended?
    Most of the industries on the north side of the layout are pretty simple In and Out spurs. I wanted to add at least one industry with a bit more work involved so the crews would have to scratch their noodle a bit a harder. :D

    Originally I wanted to have the Shoe-Fly laid in from Fordyce and then have a siding at the plant where the tank platforms are at so it would create the need for a run around, but I just didn't have the room to install it at Fordyce.
    It was a lot easier to access from the north end of Haskell like I did.

    One thing that I changed slightly in Haskell was instead of using the Riceland VO-1000 to shuffle the cars, was to make the local actually switch out the Riceland plant after they finished with Gavilon.

    We'll see how well it goes shortly?
     
  15. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well Op Session #14 is in the books.

    Overall I'm pleased with how things worked out.
    No shorts on the mainlines since I shimmed the turnouts.
    All the new trackwork that I spent the last year working over did make things more enjoyable.
    The re-aligned mainline between Haskell and Winnfield worked with no derailments. Woohoo!
    The new industries I added worked very well with the overall operations scheme.
    The new industries I added to the north side of the layout worked well and the crew that worked it said it worked very easily and DID add to the length and work time of the Haskell Turn.
    The Duplex System was appreciated by the crews, no more plugging and unplugging of the throttles to acquire and dispatch consists.

    One thing that still plagues me is the lack of participation. I've heard of others who have a waiting list to operate.
    I know there are probably more than just a few reasons for the lack of crews, but it can be a bit disheartening.

    Over the course of the last few months the idea has popped into my head about completely redoing the main staging yard.
    Basically update it and redesign it so it functions better. But then when I do not get the participation I begin to think "Why put this much work into the layout when it's mostly just me working on it and maybe about two to three core crewmembers who show up?"
    Maybe I need to pare the layout back and reduce it as well?

    I posted on the blog earlier today with a few pics of the session, not many as we only had four crews total and we kept busy.
    Busy enough but yet it was relaxed because none of the Through Freights moved from the yard. We only moved the four manifest and the three locals.

    Here's the rest of the story.....
     
  16. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I understand what you are saying. :( If I was in your vicinity, I'd be there!
     
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  17. Jeepy84

    Jeepy84 TrainBoard Member

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    I have forgotten where you are located, but I'm guessing your proximity to BFE Pennsylvania is far away.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
     
  18. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have that buddy in NC and SOO MILW CNW from Texas, both of them would love to come play trains.
    I wish I has some sort of teleporter, it's make things so much easier.

    But if you're ever in town or passing through, look me up.
     
  19. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yup, just a few hundred miles, give or take a few. Far East Nebraska.
     
  20. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    I got the itch to get started on some scenery, so I began preparations for ballast.
    This included trimming the cork back to the ties, filling in the spaces between ties and testing some paint for the track.

    [​IMG]

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    I want to get this done before working on the backdrop.
    More on the blog...
     
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