Saturday, December 21, 2019

Two Steps Forward and One Back

The new Stanton drive is in and supported by a styrene mount. Behind it is the old open-frame power truck which seemed to be causing the problem. The gear train between the wheels can be seen on the old truck
It has been over two months since my last posting but it has been a busy one for the family this year. Most of October and November was spent out of town on one trip or another (several railroad related). Right after Thanksgiving, I came down with a fairly bad cold or, perhaps, a flu strain. Of course, the normal holiday chaos was thrown in, too. In any case, I have been out of commission until recently.
     In my posting in May (, I described the new Hall-Scott motor car. It ran well until my first operating session, then it locked up and wouldn't move. It turned out the gear train on the power truck had gotten a few grains of ballast in it which locked up the works. That was cleaned out and a small shield made to prevent a future problem. The next operating session showed the car running all right then it started not to. A friend of mine, Keith Robinson, who specializes in decoder installations and I looked at it and determined that the old open-frame motor was emitting some kind of electromagnetic interference which affected the decoder. It was time to change the motor.
     A Stanton drive was ordered from Northwest Short Line and installed in the car. This required a new motor support bracket and some trimming of the drive unit. Now it is back on the road and running well, at least until the next operating session.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Threshing the Wheat

A turn-of-the-century post card advertising Case products gave inspiration to the project
As has been mentioned before in this blog, wheat is the major item shipped by the Stockton & Copperopolis. The prototype ran through huge fields of wheat, all of which had to be harvested and then threshed to separate the grain from the chaff. To be true to the prototype the model S&C had to have at least one threshing scene. 
The threshing machine assembled from the Shapeways kit. The wagon is a Jordan farm wagon kit. Decals are custom based on early photos.
This project started by assembling a 3D-printed thresher offered by Desert Canyon Miniatures on the Shapeways website. This kit is fairly complex with numerous small parts. The result, though, is a pretty impressive machine. I painted mine to resemble a Case machine of 1890s vintage. 
A Keystone boiler was used with steam cylinder and flywheels taken from parts from the scrapbox.
 The second part of the scene was the portable steam engine which powered the thresher. I adapted a Keystone portable boiler and added a cylinder and flywheel from parts I found in the scrap box. This unit was connected to the thresher by a long leather (brown paper) belt. The reason for the distance from the thresher is the fire hazard. The engine, of course, has a fire and any potential conflagration had to be kept away from the more expensive threshing machine.
The complete scene showing both threshing machine and portable engine.
Figures are from Faller.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Last Bridges Are In!

Duck Creek near Farmington Surrounded by wheat fields, this dry wash is spanned by the S&C.
After postponing building them for several years, I finally got busy and finished the last two bridges on the railroad. The first location was the trestle over Duck Creek which was just west of Farmington. Normally, Duck Creek was a dry wash which could be become a rapid stream in the spring rains. Since the S&C is set in the summer, it's mainly a dry wash which is how I modeled it. The trestle was built like the other trestles on the railroad.
No. 204 crosses Mormon Creek just east of Holden. The water is by Magic Water, an excellent two-part epoxy I recommend highly.
     The second location was the bridge/trestle over Mormon Creek. This stream usually has some water in it year around so I wanted to represent that. Most of it is dry, however, and so a long approach trestle was provided over the stream bed. There was a truss bridge over the actual stream bed. Fortunately for me, the truss bridge was 50 feet long which was exactly the size of a bridge I had built years ago for my last railroad in California. When I dismantled that railroad, I kept the bridges and so a 25-year-old bridge now spans the creek on the S&C. As is typical in the this geographic area, plants near a water source tend to be a lot greener than the rest of the surrounding foliage which is the effect I tried to present here.
     Tomorrow is my first operating session following the lightning strike back in June. Everything seems to be working. Tomorrow we will find out.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Lightning Repair and Miscellany

The finished scale test car. These cars were used to calibrate track scales and were moved from place to place by train. They were usually placed as the last car in the train just ahead of the caboose.
Most of the damage done by the lightning strike back in June has now been repaired and it looks like the Copperopolis Road is ready for operation. Last week, though, I found out that both of my staging yards had taken damage by the lightning. One of the yards was easily repaired but the other is still awaiting some new circuit boards which should take care of the problem. If they don't, there are other ways to fix the yard. In any case, I'm having an operating session in a couple of weeks which may end up more of a shakedown.
Scale car parts awaiting assembly. Two tungsten weights were installed in the
car to keep it on the track.
While I've been waiting on components and so on, I've managed to do a couple of little projects. My first one was a scale test car. Several weeks ago, I asked the folks on the Early Rail IO Group if anyone had plans and/or photos of nineteenth century scale test cars. One person did and, before I could start a model, my friend, Craig Bisgeier, 3D printed a car from the drawings. Craig was nice enough to furnish me with his parts so I could build my own car. Now I have to build a scale track, scale or scale house and maybe get one of those nifty Boulder Creek Engineering scales.
The Case thresher just waits in the field for the harvester to mow down some wheat to thresh. It will eventually be part of a larger threshing scene.
I find that I have a lot of time waiting for glue or paint to dry and building the scale car was no exception. I started on a threshing machine which was a kit on Shapeways. It had a lot of parts but it was a fun project to assemble. I decide that it would be a J.I. Case thresher and lettered it accordingly. It will eventually be part of a threshing scene in one of my wheat fields.
     One other thing which just occurred this weekend was a surprise gift from Tom Teeple. You might remember his Liberty Street module which was featured in the 2012 issue of Great Model Railroads. Tom has moved but he had several wagons which he had assembled over the years which he thought might have a good home on the S&C. Tom is an excellent modeler and these wagons are exquisite. Even a horse-powered thresher was included. Thanks, Tom. They certainly will be used and appreciated.
Most of these wagons started out as a Jordan kit of some sort and were modified into the kind of vehicle Tom wanted.
The odd item at the upper left is the treadmill upon which the horse walks to power the thresher at its right.

Friday, August 16, 2019

The Joy of Antique Hunting

A couple of weeks ago, some friends were in town and we went antique hunting in the nearby town of Greenwood. In one of the antique malls, I found a like-new modern reproduction of a wall clock complete with pendulum and "Regulator" lettered across the glass door. I had always entertained the idea of having a fast clock like this in the room adjacent to the railroad so the off-duty crews could easily see the time. The clocks, however, seemed a bit too expensive for me. Since the antique store clock was priced right, I bought it.
      The battery-operated movement  was not the sort to work with my Mike Dodd ( fast clock but I did have an extra one that would. That movement, however, did not have a way to activate the pendulum. Fortunately for me, one was available at which worked directly with my fast clock movement. The new mechanism was mounted inside the clock and connected to an output of the clock controller. Surprisingly, the whole thing ran. Now my crews will be able to tell time in style.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Express Train is Coming!

The complete train of express cars stands at Oakdale awaiting a locomotive.
In the nineteenth century, the U.S. Post Office did not handle parcels, only letters. If you wanted to ship something, your choices were freight (wagon or railroad) or by express. The express companies were many (Wells Fargo, American, Southern, Adams, etc.) and each pretty much handled its own territories. Shipping by express was a little more expensive but your item was insured and did receive better handling than shipping freight. It usually arrived sooner than regular freight service hence the name express. UPS or FedEx would be the equivalent today.
     In the West, Wells Fargo was predominant and either leased space on railroad-owned cars or used its own cars. Railroads pooled express cars over their respective tracks to facilitate the movement of the merchandise. In the string of cars pictured above, four separate railroads are represented, each with its own car representing such a pooling operation.
     The Stockton & Copperopolis car is a brass import of unknown origin. I suspect that it was once part of a Golden Spike set as the car's prototype appears to be very much like the Central Pacific's supply car at Promontory in 1869. I painted it to match my other S&C cars.
The Santa Fe car was scratchbuilt while the Central Pacific car was kitbashed from a Labelle kit.
         The Santa Fe car is modeled after AT&SF drawings depicted in one of the Santa Fe Historical Society's books and also in Model Railroader. Styrene makes up the body while the doors were laser cut. A Model Die Casting passenger car floor is also used. The roof was 3D printed by Eightwheeler Models, a shop in It was designed to represent the broken bullnose end roof popular in the 1880s and to fit on an MDC passenger car. The end railings of the car are etched brass from They are designed to fit on the MDC floor and include the uncoupling handle for Miller hooks. Central Valley trucks are used.
     The Central Pacific car was based on a CP drawing in the California State Railroad Museum files. The basis of the car is a Labelle baggage car. I relocated the doors to match the CP car and used an MDC roof. While I suspect the car body was more likely painted a Pullman brown, I wanted the contrast of the different railroads and so used green.
Both of these cars were constructed from Westwood parts and Evergreen styrene passenger car siding.
    The MSN Wells Fargo car was built around 20+ years ago used Westwood windows and doors with styrene sides. The MDC roofs and floors were used being modified to fit the sides of the car. The rear car is of similar age and construction and is the rider car for those hearty souls who needed to get somewhere fast and were willing to ride at odd hours to get there.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Central Valley Models

HO Collector magazine, 2nd quarter issue of 2019.
When I started in this hobby, the first kit I built was a Central Valley boxcar. It still runs on the railroad. For a long time, Central Valley was a mainstay of the nineteenth century models offering great kits and a selection of excellent trucks. Last year, a discussion with Tony Cook, editor of HO Collector resulted in an article on this company. While this blog posting is somewhat belated, those of you interested should be able to locate a copy of the 2nd quarter issue of 2019 wherein my eight-page article was published.
     Central Valley cars are still around and can be picked up at swap meets for not unreasonable prices. They are decent models of 34-foot cars and, while you might want to replace grabirons and truss rods with closer-to-scale pieces, I think they are still good kits. In any case, I hope you enjoy the article and HO Collector as well.

Friday, July 5, 2019

"Will you throw down the box, please?"

Black Bart has the stagecoach cornered and is about to relieve the driver of his heavy Wells Fargo load.
"Thrown down the box" was the cry of the 19th century robber. Even though it's 1895, travel by stage is still dangerous. Road agents are still at large as seen by this photo captured by a hidden cameraman. It looks like Black Bart is back on the road or is that just someone copying his technique? In any case, no one was hurt and the stage reached its destination only minus the Wells Fargo box.
     Black Bart was a real person in California history who managed to pull off 28 stage holdups over a ten year period. When he was finally captured, it was discovered that he was a respected person in San Francisco society and his shotgun was never loaded. He never harmed a passenger either and did include the "please" after demanding the treasure box. After serving six years in San Quentin prison, Bart moved on and was not heard of again.
     The coach was assembled from the kits mentioned in my last post ( Since I could not find any robbery victims, I had to modify a couple of figures so they could "reach for the sky."
The track gang busily at work just outside of Milton. Let's hope they get finished and get the handcars off the track before the next train comes along
On a more positive note, the Chinese track gang is busily at work replacing ties on the Milton branch. I don't recall who made the figures but the handcars were built up from Tichy kits.
     While waiting for parts to rebuild the electronics destroyed by the lightning strike mentioned in the last post, I am doing some light modeling. Maybe I will catch up to some projects I have been putting off.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Mud Wagons and Lightning

Based on drawings of a Henderson mud wagon, Hakan Nilsson's kits are very faithful to the prototype. Mine were lettered for the Ione, Jackson and Sutter Creek run based on a Henderson photo. I still have to harness the horses.
Hakan Nilsson ( is located in Sweden and models California in the 1800s. As a result of his modeling, he has produced several items of that era which should be of interest in anyone modeling the nineteenth century. Besides his website, he has additional items in his Shapeways store (Eight-Wheeler Models).
     A few months ago, he and I exchanged a couple of emails regarding mud wagons. These were the cheaper, yet sturdier, coaches used to transport people all over the country until the advent of the automobile and good roads. While we are all know the familiar Concord coach from countless western movies and TV shows, the mud wagons accounted for about 2/3 of the coaches in use, especially on the rugged roads of the western United States. Hakan then set about producing a laser-cut kit of two styles of these coaches. Last week, I started putting two of them together and, I must say, they were very enjoyable to assemble.The parts fit and the final appearance was excellent. A few years ago, I had made a few mud wagons by kitbashing the Jordan stagecoach. These kits could have saved me a bit of trouble.
This coach was kitbashed from the Jordan kit for the Concord coach also based on a Henderson prototype.
Right in the middle of this project, we had a bit of nasty weather here including a lightning strike which was very close to us. It was close enough to knock out several of our appliances including the dishwasher, telephone/internet modem, clothes dryer, television and so on. It even took out all four of the Digitrax command stations and boosters on the railroad including the fast clock controller. The Digitrax stuff has all been sent off to the company in Florida but they are taking at least two months to repair damage these days. The Stockton and Copperopolis will be out of commission for a while. At least, working on the mud wagons helped to calm me somewhat while waiting for adjusters and repairmen.
     Take a look at Hakan's Railroad Line Forum thread 9 I think you will find it interesting.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Bridges over Troubled Waters

Duck Creek just outside Farmington (in the distance) is now bridged. The plaster cloth is applied right over the existing scenery which will then be blended into the new sction.
Technically, these are not bridges but trestles. For ten years, Duck Creek near Farmington and Mormon Creek near Holden have only had narrow pieces of plywood to bridge the respective bodies of water. Well, considering the railroad is set in California in the summer time, there is little water to bridge, troubled or otherwise, as the creeks are mostly dry then.
     Both trestles were built using basswood scale lumber assembled in a jig I made. Once the trestle was ready, I carefully sawed away the plywood subroadbed while leaving the tracking hanging over the gap. The ties were removed and then Barge cement was applied to the bottom of the rails and was allowed to dry. To install the structure, I placed the trestle beneath the rails and then shimmed up the trestle bents to level the structure. A small iron was placed on the rails which melted the cement and glued them to the bridge. A track gauge was used to make sure that the rails were in the proper alignment.
Mormon Creek is a bit different. The truss bridge is over the main part of the channel with the trestles on slightly higher ground.. Jigs were used to built both the trestle and the bridge. In the background is a deck bridge from my old railroad. Its fate has not yet been decided.
The Howe truss bridge over Mormon creek was built about 25 years ago for my previous railroad in California and was recycled for the S&C. This was quite common in the nineteenth century since it was fairly easy to disassemble a wood bridge, cart the cast iron and wood beams to another location and re-erect it.
     Plaster cloth was then applied around the trestle give the scenery a base. I still need to use some Sculptamold to smooth out the approaches and fill any gaps. Then, I can paint the plaster, apply dirt and maybe even a small trickle of water.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Motor Car Arrive on the S&C

The new motor car stops at Burnett's station to pick up an elderly lady. 
The Stockton & Copperopolis has been pulled into the gasoline age. Today, their new Hall-Scott motor car made its first run over the line. Able to seat 70 passengers and only 50 feet long, the new car can easily travel 30-40 mph over the railroad. Only needing a crew of two, the motor car, named Copperopolis, will be useful on runs where little traffic is expected and will be a cost saving to the railroad.
A side view of the Copperopolis shows the stained glass upper windows and fancy oval restroom window. As well as pulling itself, the car can also pull another car or two, if needed.
     In actuality, the Copperopolis is a brass import from the 1960s. Imported by Model Engineering Works, I had the good fortune to pick up this new car from Dick Wheeler, former owner of MEW, about 20 years ago. My original plan was to replace the open-frame motor but it ran so smoothly, I decided to keep it. A Tsunami2 decoder was added and the RGS Galloping Goose sound used. No other mechanical refinements were made to the car. The car was painted and custom decals were designed and printed.
     For those of you aware of history, it will be realized that the prototype was built in 1911, some 16 years later than the era of my railroad. It is definitely anachronistic but I have always liked this car since I was able to walk through it in the 1970s. It all goes back to Rule Number 1: It's my railroad and I can do what I want! (That's the model railroader's set of rules, not the Gibbs set).

Thursday, April 18, 2019

A Walk in the Weeds

Old B&B right-of-way in the center of picture with the also abandoned standard gauge railroad to the right. Note the rock retaining walls
Last weekend, I had the good fortune to travel to Massachusetts to participate in a walk through a portion of the city of Billerica. The reason for this trip was due to a book I published in 2012 entitled George Mansfield and the Billerica and Bedford Railroad. It chronicled a very short-lived narrow gauge railroad running between the two cities in its name and it was the first two-foot gauge railroad in the country. After the rails were removed in 1879, much of the railroad was relaid as a standard gauge road but there is a little over a mile of roadbed still visible between the housing developments and that is what we were searching for.
The intrepid explorers scramble around downed trees following the old B&B roadbed through one of the rougher patches on the line.
Ben Rockney and Marlies Henderson of Massachusetts did the on-the-ground searching and came up with a good half-day of roadbed hunting. We found pieces behind people's houses, in their front yards and a good series of cuts in a normally overgrown, inaccessible canyon. A lot of vegetation has grown up since the railroad's demise. It was truly a Walk in the Weeds.

The raised planter near the swing set is actually a portion of the
Billerica and Bedford grade
    It was a great time and a chance to see parts of the old railroad which I was not able to when I was researching the book. Thanks to all who participated and, especially, to those who arranged the Walk.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

A Pair of Warehouses

Waverly occupies a lonely place in the San Joaquin Valley with nothing there except for the P&D warehouse.
In taking a break from engine terminal project, I was looking for something which would improve the railroad but not take a lot of time. I found it in two grain warehouses, one at Waverly and the other at Charleston. The Waverly warehouse "vacant lot" had bothered me a bit since it's about the only unscenicked portion in that particular aisle. I decided to do Charleston at the same time since it would be about the same size and construction.
The doors on the left side of the building were used to unload wagons. Similar
doors trackside were used for car loading.
 Peterson and Dake owned the grain warehouse in Milton and also operated the Waverly warehouse. I had a bit of information from insurance maps and railroad records but no photos so I freelanced the building from what little I knew. I used board and batten siding (Evergreen) with a shingled roof. Loading doors adorned both sides of the building for the loading/unloading of wagons and freight cars. For the roof, I chose to use up some of my pile of Campbell shingles just to have a slightly different look from my usual Minuteman Models variety. The Campbell shingles are gummed but I knew they would not stick to styrene so I opted for an illustration board roof I bought from the local Hobby Lobby. I also opted to save my tongue in the moistening process and rigged up a damp sponge. The shingles went on nicely and, while they do not have the newly-applied look of the MM shingles, look like they've been on the building for a while. The structure was then painted to match the Milton structure and similar decals were printed and applied.
Grube's Warehouse is the only industry at Charleston and is butted up against the backdrop.
Over at Charleston, the only information I had was the dimensions of the building. The available space required a slight shrinkage of the building but it is in keeping with the siding length. Evergreen grooved siding was used with Grandt Line doors and the Campbell shingles-on-illustration-board roof. The lettering was freelanced.
 Both of the areas still require scenicking to finish the sites and that will be completed in the next week or so. Waverly also has to have a small oil loading facility to service the new Waverly tank car a friend of mine donated to the railroad. 

Friday, March 29, 2019

Revising Turnout Controls

The three push buttons on the fascia control the position of the stub turnout on the railroad. 
I like the manual control of turnouts. It fits with my era and it simplifies the wiring considerably. Every turnout on the railroad is controlled by a Blue Point controller with a manual push-pull (except for the staging yards and the interlocking plant). I had previously modified two of the Blue Points to work with my two three-way stub switches at Copperopolis and Farmington. The one at Copperopolis has always worked fine but, for the last few months, the Farmington turnout has not worked well. I have tried several times to readjust things but could not make the "fix" work. My operators were getting perturbed as Farmington can be a busy place.I finally had to find a permanent fix.
    My solution to the problem was to remove the Blue Point and replace it with a Tam Valley Depot ( Dual 3-way servo decoder. This device is designed to work with either a 3-way turnout or a 3-position semaphore. You can easily adjust the position of the points (or blade) and even adjust the speed of the throw. In the case of a semaphore, the unit can be programmed to put a "bounce" as the blade changes position.
The servo motor controlling the turnout is at the upper
right of the photo while the control board is at the lower
left. Using servos to control turnouts is very simple and
easy to install.
     The installation was a two-man job with one person under the layout adjusting the track position and another on the top telling when the tracks were aligned. My friend, Mark Davidson came over and, between us, we managed to get everything adjusted. I am very happy with the results and, now, you only have to push one of three buttons to align the turnout.
     By the way, each of these controllers can handle two turnouts/semaphores. For those interested, I used another Tam Valley Depot device, their Dual Frog Juicer. It handles both frogs in the turnout routing power accordingly.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Beneath the Turntable

The turntable drive with worm and worm gear above. The Mercotac connector and its adapter are below.
After my posting on the new turntable, one the followers of this blog inquired as to what the drive mechanism for the table looked like. It is fairly simple with no indexing other than your eyesight (it lines up every time unless you're crosseyed!). The table itself has a 1/4-inch tube running from the center down through a brass bushing in the center of the pit. Below the benchwork, there is a brass worm gear driven by a steel worm. I use a 30-tooth gear but there is nothing critical about that. It's just what I chose. Both of these parts are from Boston gear. These gears tend to get fairly expensive so I searched ebay until I found some which met my requirements. I was going to use a plastic gear but they were not in stock and I would have to have ordered about 10 of them to meet their minimums.
    The shaft for the worm is just 3/16" steel rod I bought from the local hardware store. It runs through two brass bushings which are installed in 2-inch corner braces. The shaft is held in place by two shaft collars. Both the collars and bushing were obtained from McMaster-
Carr is a great supplier of hardware and other items used by industrial folks. They do sell to individuals and ship the same day. I can order a part on Sunday and have it by Wednesday. I suggest that they be checked out for the odd item which might be needed.
The Boston Gear U-joint connecting the drive with the rotating
The shaft is connected to a Boston Gear universal joint. I use these just in case my alignment is not dead on. You can change the position of the crank a bit by doing this. The shaft goes through a plastic bushing glued in the fascia and is driven by a crank wheel. My wheel was made on my lathe simply because I did not like the ones I could get commercially. If you are less fussy than I, a suitable handle can be purchased at the hardware store or through McMaster-Carr. I should mention that my hardware store had the brass bushings as well as the plastic ones in their normal stock. They just did not have the quantity I needed (I have two more turntables to build).
The complete Mercotac unit at the left with the components
at the right. The top part on the right will have wires soldered
to it for the rails and will press into the adapter in the middle.
Power still has to be routed to the turntable track. I did not use a pit rail because I found a rotating connector made by Mercotac in Carlsbad, California. It is designed for rotating electrical connections and works very well. I used their Model 205 unit. It is a two-pole unit to which you solder two wires. These go up through the central turntable shaft and solder to the rails on the table. At the bottom end, the connector snaps on to the main body of the Mercotac unit and track power can be soldered to its leads. I did have to turn another parts which has a hole to fit the 1/4-inch turntable shaft on one end and another to fit the press-in connector unit on the other. It attaches to the shaft with a set screw.
    I should mention that both the brass worm gear and steel worm had to be tapped for a set screw to hold them to their respective shafts. This was not a big deal as the brass was easy to drill and the steel worm already had a pilot hole which just needed to be slightly enlarged.
Turned rotating wheel with nylon crank handle.
  I use a reversing unit to change the track polarity on the table. I have used units made by DCC Specialties and Tam Valley Depot and both work well.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Wagons and Cuspidors

Both wagons are built from the same Glencoe Models  kit.
After working several weeks on the engine terminal project, I felt that I needed a break but still wanted to do some modeling. Going through a box of wagon kits, I found a few inexpensive wagons which I had acquired along the way. They were not in the same class as the Jordan wagons and my first impulse was to throw them out. I reconsidered just to find out what they might look like with a little work. Background models are needed as well as foreground ones and, with Jordan kits pretty scarce, I thought that I should not pass up any substitutes.
   The models are made by Glencoe Models and a box gives you a stagecoach and a covered wagon. I removed the top cover from two of the covered wagons which gave me a couple of freight wagons and then assembled two more wagons with the covers. The stagecoaches I assembled per the instructions minus the horses (they looked more the size of ponies). After painting, I applied some old Art Griffin stagecoach decals and they turned out fairly respectable. They will still be background models, though.
Glencoe Models stagecoach with Art Griffin decals. 
A slightly tipsy gent with his cuspidor. The 
spittoon will ultimately be painted to resemble
   Another project I have been accumulating parts for is a saloon with a detailed interior. I was able to find a nice bar, back bar, tables and chairs, an upright piano, bottles and even beer mugs. The one vital piece of any bar, though, I could not find, a spittoon (or cuspidor if you are more genteel). SS Ltd. had one but it was not what I had in mind. I wanted a more typical style like the one I have in my crew lounge. The only alternative was to 3D print some. I had doubts that such a small object could be reproduced but gave it a try and ended up with a lifetime supply of spittoons! I still have to figure out how to get the "misses" around the spittoon modeled.
   Now to get back to more serious model railroad stuff.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Engine Terminal is Now Awaiting Scenery

Still roofless, the roundhouse awaits final track testing. The pit for the coaling station is at left center. The short tracks on this side of the turntable are for MOW equipment storage, extra wheelsets, etc.
After the last few weeks, I have been working on the new Oakdale engine terminal. It has been a bit of bear to do that since there is very restricted room to work. To top that off, all the electrical has to be accessed by ducking under the railroad. When I was building the railroad, I left the fascia off until I was finished with wiring which made it an easy job. Now, the fascia is on the work area and it is not practical to remove it so I duck under.
Since the locomotives to be stored here will be primarily coal burners, cinders are produced and need to be dropped and carried away, hence the depressed ash pit track. In the background, Crown Flour becomes a new industrial site with probably another one to its right.
The trackwork went down easily enough except for the ashpit area which required the benchwork to be revised to accommodate the depressed track. Similar depressed areas were made for the coaling tower's coal dump.
Two curved turnouts allow locomotives into the yard. The box car in the background is sitting on the main line.
The power to each track is controlled by this
panel. This will help prevent overload of the
DCC system with several sound-equipped
engines all drawing current.
One of the side projects has been the complete replacement of light bulbs over the railroad. When I first installed the lighting in 2008-9, the best bulb available was the CFL but I always thought that the light was too yellow. Your eyes adjust to it but it wasn't right. I finally found a relatively low-cast LED 100W-equivalent bulb and unscrewed and rescrewed all 75+ bulbs with these 3000°K units. The railroad looks quite a bit better. My operating crews have not seen it yet but I like it.
      The coaling tower and sand house have both been constructed as has the yard office. Now I just have to get some scenery going so I can get this area finished.

Monday, January 7, 2019

A Roundhouse is Built. . . Almost

The partially finished roundhouse. Its roof pieces lie on the structure at the left side. Tracks from the rest of the railroad will enter in the wide space between the other turntable tracks. 
Since finishing the new turntable at Oakdale, I have been working on an old Model Masterpieces kit of the Colorado Midland roundhouse at Colorado City. It is a kit with sides made from cast dental plaster and looks terrific. Unfortunately, the looks are outweighed by the trouble to put the darned thing together. The window openings are considerably smaller than the nice window castings, the side pieces are of different thicknesses and so on. In short, it takes a lot of fiddling and trimming to get the kit in a reasonable state to be assembled. It finally happened, though, with the original 4-stall kit plus two of the 2-stall add-on kits coming together for the final structure.   
     The track was laid out according to the plans with each track being 10° from its neighbor. A few additional "garden" tracks were also laid for MOW equipment, spare parts and so on. To complete the interior, which will be hard to see, I laid down a layer of cinders. Before putting the roof on, though, I need to wire the tracks and make sure the electrical is all working.
The current plan for the electrical switches. As can be seen, there is not a lot of room for the panel. The wheel at the right controls the turntable rotation.
Since there might be in excess of eight locomotives in this area at once, I decided to put individual shutoff switches for the stalls. This, of course, requires a panel of some sort to visually indicate what each switch does. There is limited space on the fascia on the railroad at this point so I am struggling a bit to find a good place to put a panel. I have found a place but I may try to size things down a bit before committing.
Two of the switches which will be needed to access the engine terminal area.
Before doing all that, though, I still have to lay track from the existing railroad down to the turntable providing areas for the coaling tipple, sandhouse, ashpit and water spout along the way.