Thunder Ridge: A Freelanced Focus on Scenery

Mark Watson Apr 12, 2010

  1. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Good point about the huge drop of TR. It sounded good on paper, even looked good in the visualization, but in form, there's a lot of wasted space outsize of the camera range. Yes, TR will store on end in the closet. It's a deep closet that runs the length of wall between the kitchen. It wont take up more than 30% of it (which is just packed with empty boxes and old electronics that I can/should clear out).


    Sure, one train is all it takes! :) I find on TR, about 60% of the time I only run a single train at a time anyways. I dont know why. :p

    That would be cool. I'll be sure to do so, should that decision be made. :)

    Glad you have enjoyed the postings thus far.
     
  2. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    That's exactly the situation.

    This is great advice which I've tried to follow all along. Unfortunately, it's to the point that each individual scene can not progress until a certain item that I currently can not afford is acquired. Gridlock. :(

    I fear this also. But perhaps I'm more fearful of being stuck with an un-finished project that is completely surrounded by roadblocks. Perhaps if I could just get through one or two, I could occupy myself with those individual scenes and hold off the recession a little longer. But again I fear it may only delay the inevitable.

    +3% for keeping TR
     
  3. brakie

    brakie TrainBoard Member

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    Mark,Food for thought..

    The layout isn't all that large maybe you can display it at various train shows or perhaps a N Scale gathering.
     
  4. Tracy McKibben

    Tracy McKibben TrainBoard Member

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    I AGONIZED over the decision for weeks, maybe months. The one key thing that clinched it for me was the fact that at some point, after our son moves out, I will be remodeling that part of the house to build a larger train room, and would need to destroy the existing layout anyway. Tearing it down now, and building a smaller one (in HO, another change that I wanted to make), made sense. I have time now to get back up to speed with HO, I can start acquiring stuff NOW (the steamer w/sound, for example), instead of getting stuck further down the road, needing something that I can afford right away.

    For me, it was the right choice, I'm very glad I made it.
     
  5. RetiredLawman

    RetiredLawman New Member

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    Mark............Just in planning stage of #5 and came across an 8" X 2' X 8' piece of Dow Corning (The same "blue stuff") insulation but this is designed for dock flotation. Was in "Foam heaven" till I saw how much you're using.........DJ
     
  6. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Well, the decision meter has been all over the place these past few weeks. Today, I find myself evaluating the current state of Thunder Ridge and weighing the damage against a new project.

    The track work on Thunder Ridge needs some care. Though I'm not having any tracking issues with my turnouts, one thing they're lacking is a powered frog in order to run my small steamers. Correcting that will be a major chore.
    Also, the entire mountain side of the highline needs to be relaid. The old ME flex I used just isn't working out and I swear it expands/contracts 10 times as much as the Atlas flex. Thunder Ridge (ME) is full of kinks, but Thunder Pass (Atlas) is perfectly kink free. Go figure. :tb-wacky:

    One major positive note for Thunder Ridge however, is that it is operational.


    Strangely, the requirements for a smaller layout are very similar.., track work.
    When I purchased foam (with the much appreciated help of RBrodzinsky), thankfully I over purchased by one 4x8x2" sheet. So sub-roadbed and terrain are all supplies currently in inventory. And again with the vastly reduced mountain, I believe I can form an adequate rock wall out of castings already made and on hand.

    But then this means I wont be able to run trains until track work is complete. :tb-wacky:
    Of course I wont be able to run trains while track repair is going on on Thunder Ridge...:tb-wacky:

    Ugh, decisions decisions!

    I think I'm right about 48% for keeping Thunder Ridge, 52% for starting the smaller design.

    Maybe tonight's "supermoon" can bring me an answer! :p
    (Oh goodness, I've crossed the line into hysteria.. haven't I?)
     
  7. HOexplorer

    HOexplorer TrainBoard Supporter

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    Mark, Sorry to hear all this today. My health problems have made it difficult to keep up with every thread and I guess I haven't visited Thunder Ridge in a couple of months. This is tough news. I understand about space and that kind of thing. I would hate to see this Thunder Ridge get tossed in the trash or something. Do you have friends that have some room in a storage locker? With your talent you should be able to do a 3'x6' with no problems. I know its a bummer, but unlike some of us you have time on your side. Let me know if I can help. Jim
     
  8. Wings & Strings

    Wings & Strings TrainBoard Member

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    As a person who's gone back and forth between N and TTn3 (twice), plus as a person who has considered new layouts (about seventeen times, with an eighteenth proposed new layout possibly for this summer) I can tell you that if I stayed on the SD&AE Path of Truth, I found myself getting more done. Now my layout is pretty much complete, and I'm only thinking of a new layout because I don't feel busy enough.

    Think of it this way: If you start over after coming so far, you're going to have to start all that work all over again. Getting trains running was the hardest part for me. Once I started scenery it was the home stretch. I was able to do it at a relaxed pace, and I never felt any need to rush.

    And remember, having a completed layout is great, but most of the fun is getting there...
     
  9. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    ... Well, it's now April and Thunder Ridge still stands! :D

    Ugh.. I guess that means I need to start collecting those expensive Bragdon rock molds.
    The good news though is that one of their molds covers about 8 times the surface of a large WS mold! :D
    But at 35-50 bucks a pop...on a student's budget...I guess it's true what they say, takes millions of years to build a mountain! :p :(
     
  10. MarktheShark

    MarktheShark TrainBoard Member

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    I knew you'd make the right choice! Why not make your own rock molds?
     
  11. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Making my own rock molds would cost about 10 times as much when you factor in raw supplies, time, location scouting, and transportation. I'll just have to play the waiting game.

    No worries though. Making a layout isn't an overnight process, as much as we'd all like it to be. :p

    In the mean time, I have several hundred trees that need to be made.
     
  12. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    I just returned from the hobby shop with 5 new bits of flex!! :D

    I have a ruined piece on the Ridge line that needs replacing, and I'm also going to finally get the new crossover and siding exit installed tonight along with maybe a stub or two!

    Since the LHS only stocks C55, and ordering C40 flex just couldn't reach the top of the to-do list, I figured it's better to have C55 sidings/stubs than no stubs at all. This does mean that in the months to come, my hand laid C40 turnouts will be replaced with Atlas C55 #5s. It's ok though, I still have 3 hand laid turnouts on the main line that I can be proud of (except for the fact of their un-powered frogs, but even that may be fixed in time). :)

    HOOoAH!! Let's get to work! :D :D
     
  13. gregorycarlson

    gregorycarlson TrainBoard Member

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    Glad to hear Mark! Overcoming challenges always feels good.

    Look forward to seeing your progress!

    Have a great weekend!
    Greg
     
  14. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Well, after too many hours, it's official...

    Atlas curved turnouts are a pain! :(

    I hoped I'd have the whole thing done by now, but I haven't even broken ground on the outside loop. Inside loop is operational again though. :)
     
  15. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    I hear you!
    Between the wobbly point rails and those little bumps all along the inside of the rails (especially around the frogs)... in the the time it takes to tinker & finick them you can build a couple of darn good handlaid curved turnouts off a fasttracks template.
    Ones that actually fit your curves, and cheaper, too.
    Still, it'll be great to see TR up & running again!
    Good luck!
     
  16. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    I was thinking about the differences of hand laying a few different times during the installation. :/

    The biggest problem I have is that the head of the point rails on the two RH turnouts are literally twice as wide (along their full length even!) as all other rail on Thunder Ridge. Fully closed, even with the manufactured notch in the stock rail, the points stick out as if they're just two standard rail heads side by side.
     
  17. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hey Mark...

    Maybe just like in the real 1:1 world...ya need a BIGGER hammer to make things work right...LOL

    *Isnt model railroading FUN ? *

    .
    .
     
  18. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Coming up on Thunder Ridge!

    How to re-build your Atlas Curved Turnout so that they WORK! :D :D





    "Bigger hammer" isn't too far from how I actually fixed the curved turnouts. :D
     
  19. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Let's tear apart one of those Atlas C55 Curved turnouts and make it into one that actually works, shall we! :D

    It's hard to see in this photo, but look at that those point rails. There's no taper at all! Even with the notch in the stock rail, the point still sticks out over half of it's width.
    [​IMG]


    Well, lets do a simple swap, using some spare rail and three PC Board ties. That's all it takes! :)

    First, I took an Xacto and removed two of the ties. One shown below, and the other tie I removed was the one with the two copper tabs (circles). The original point rails connected into those holes. You can see once those were popped out, the opposite end of the points (being free floating) just fell out.
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Here's the turnout with the original (bad) parts removed, shown on the bottom, and the new (good) parts ready to install, shown above the prepared turnout.
    [​IMG]

    The most difficult part is filing the points on the two new rails. And that a walk in the park! :) Once those points are shaped, simply solder the rails where they align with the PC Board ties in the missing holes. (Only solder the two point rails at the points. ;) ).
    And... that's it! Since I love to use this word when I upgrade stuff, I give you the Atlas "Ultimate" Curved turnout!
    [​IMG]
     

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