Monday, December 31, 2012


Hello everybody,

Thought it was time to up date you all to why I haven't posted for the last nine months. I grew restless and unsatisfied with the way the layout was progressing. I just didn't want to work on it. So I decided to fulfill a promise I made to myself when I was 13 yrs old. I bought a live steam locomotive.

No not a ride on. I purchased an Accucraft live steame 4-4-0. It's scale is 1:20.3 or Fn3. And this will require an outside layout to operate on. I've been working on her on and foo since July updating her to look like NCNG's #1, a 4-4-0 which was converted to oil around 1920 and that is how I'm detailing my locomotive. Here take a look,

She's 28" long, it's weight is 25 lbs. empty. Under the brass tank in the tender is the fuel tank which is filled with butane. These aren't the most recent  photos but are the best of what I've got.

Now for updates with the Hopedale & Barre. Right now I still don't feel like working on it. It's not going amywhere soon.

Talk to ya later.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lights and wires

Hi Everybody,

I've been tinkering some more. Since my last posting, I found that the steel wire I am using to move the points with the switch motor wasn't stiff enough. This meant that the motor was rotating more than it should. I can't use a thicker wire because of the size of the head bar. The biggest I found I could go without breaking threw the side of a hole is .032". I needed to find a way to fix this.

The idea I came up with was to slip a piece of tubing over the wire in hopes that it would restrain the wire enough and keep it from bending too much. So I started looking threw my scrap pile to see if I had any tubing small enough. The smallest I found was some styrene tubing. I didn't think the styrene would be able to stop the wire but tried any way. And I was right about the styrene. It would take a trip to the hobby shop to get what I needed. Some brass tubing.

I was able to go to the hobby store yesterday to get some brass tubing. Lucky me. 1/16 brass tubing slips right over a piece of .032 wire. On the drive home I started to figure out how I was going to do this. I was still thinking about slipping the tubing over the wire, but the weak spot would be between the end of the tubing and the side of the motor shaft. By the time I got home I had it all figured out.

Instead of using the tube to keep the wire from bending, I decided to use the tubing as the rod up threw the roadbed. I flattened one end, about a .25" long. From the end of the flat to the open end of the tube is the same length as the piece of styrene tubing that I first tried. This puts the end of the tube just above the roadbed. In the open end, I ACC'd a piece of .032 wire which is the part that goes threw the head bar and the connecting plate on the point. This is how the throw rod looks when installed on the motor.

Before fully installing the motor, the steel wire needs to be trimmed. Using foam sticky tape, I can position the motor and mark the wire where it comes threw the head bar. Cut it with the Dremel, stick back in place and anchor in place with a metal clamp made from flashing sheet metal.

Funny thing happened when I was putting up the layout lighting. Well it wasn't funny then. I'm using Hollow Wall Anchors to hang the mounting bases to the ceiling. Got the first three up and was working on putting in the anchors for the forth one when one of the anchors, as it was tightening up, the dry sheeting let go and right up into the ceiling went my drill. What happened was it was cutting into the sheeting with the two anchor hooks making a very nice circle just big enough  for the drill to punch on threw. I tried relocating the base block but that only made things worse. So the only thing to do was cut it out.

You can see it at the top of the photo. I also got the fifth one up which is located above the picture. That was the last thing I did in the basement last night. When I went down to the train room this morning I found the mud still wet. It doesn't dry very well in the cold. My oil filled heater was warm so I cranked it up , moved it under the patch and let the warm raising air do its thing.

One more thing has to be built before scenery goes in. The coal trestle. When I was breaking down the mill, I made sure to be careful removing the trestle bents as I'm using them to build the new coal trestle.

It'll be 18" long, long enough for two hoppers. The two bent at the left are glued back together. Those two and the two to the right had to be cut down a little. It'll be built on that piece of foam. There will be a low wall around the trestle like the abutment at the far right. The idea behind the placement of the coal trestle at the power house is there is an Archimedes screw in a trench under the trestle that feeds the coal into the power house.

The next big obstacle in my modeling effort is my workbench. Half of the bench top is covered with stuff from the On2 and even HO and that was from when I first moved into the house. It has to be made O Scale friendly. So I've begun cleaning the bench. It's going slowly but I've already got more room open so that I can start working on some rolling stock.

See ya next time.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Getting back to it.

Hi Everybody,

I have procrastinated long enough, so this week end I got back to the railroad. The first thing that needed to be done was build a table or bench for keeping all the building supplies off the benchwork.

I built this opposite Barre. This is the future location of Hopedale yard. What you can't see is the strips of wood for the spline. It's tucked up against the wall. Two shopping bags of ties. As I was building it I could see how much room was under it, so all the storage tubs will be going under here. They won't need to be moved again until construction on Hopedale begins.

Yesterday, I began working on the layout lighting. For the Barre leg there will be 12 lights spaced 2 ft apart. I started making the mounting block for the lamp base to attach to. The blocks will be screwed to the ceiling. The lamps will be hung upside down. On one edge of the block  will be an 8-32 steel insert for attaching the valance with.

Today, I was determined to get the switch motor installed. And I did.

The switch motor is a geared display motor that I learned about years ago. No I won't say how many. In the fore ground of the top photo is the power supply I built from an article in Model Railroader. It's a square wave 12 volt power supply and very easy to build. I drew up a new wiring plan for it. It will be on the construction page if you want to build one.

The bottom photo is looking up at the underside of the roadbed. The toggle switch was from the On2 layout. It's a double pull-double throw toggle. One side is the power for the motor and the other side is power for the frog. As I'm not powering the frogs here I will use a single pull-double throw. The resister is to cut down the voltage to the motor.

And from the topside there is no sign of it. Look at the opposite side of the head bar. Where the pin for connecting the bar to the point has been replaced with the throw wire from below. And as this will be the hardest switch to be installed it was also a pain installing the motor. At least the rest of the switches will be up front were it will be easier to work on.

I'll be working on finishing the lamp blocks this week. A few holes still need to be drilled in the blocks before they are screwed to the ceiling.

See ya next time.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Starting and Finishing....stuff

Hi Everybody,

I've been tinkering with a few projects at the same time. One project that I started is the conversion of my Lionel B&M PS-1 boxcar to P48. The car is in the blue and black paint with the big BM on the black side to the right of the door. I'm adding roller bearing trucks as the number series on the car were delivered with RB's. Lionel you say. You bet. Lionel has a series of cars that they produced to 1/48 scale. The only problem are the trucks and underside of the car.

I had an idea of making a new bolsters for the car and mounting a pair of converted Atlas roller bearing trucks. The results were....lets say it didn't work the way I hoped it would. So I got out my 21st edition of the "Car Builders' Cyclopedia".

Inside are a nice set of drawings of the PS-1 in the 40 & 50 ft size. So it has been decided that a new under frame and extras is needed. When I was modeling in On2, I did a lot of making patterns and making molds and casting parts that I knew where going to be needed on every car. As there will be a few PS-1's on the railroad, patterns for a new underside will be made for molds and I will cast the new parts needed. Then I will use the Protocrafts roller bearing trucks instead of trying to make silk out of burlap.

I finally finished the switch for the sidings today. I made some boo-boos on it, nothing that can't be covered over and lessons learned for the rest of the railroad. There's one more code 100 switch to build and it's the one  that leads to the coal trestle at the top of the grade.

The only thing left is to install the switch motor and there are a few wear plates still to be spiked in. I used Rail Brown on the rails. I thought I mite have a problem painting the tie plates without painting the ties at the same time. But my hands remained calm (they shake sometimes) and I developed a technique to do the rail sides and the plate without getting any on the ties. There'll be more weathering after the ballast is in place. Oh yeah, the points have their own power leads as I left them to float against the closure rails. They move real nice.

I've also started painting the rest of the rail too.

I now have to put up a bench in the room so I can get all the building material off the frame work. Once I start building the rest of the railroad, there won't be any room for all this stuff plus the risers and roadbed.

See ya next time.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Wrong address

Hi Everybody,

I was reading my last post and as I check the site links, the link for Dallas Model Works took you to the log in page. Use this link instead.

Hope everybody had a safe holiday.

See ya next time.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Everybody

Hi Everybody,

A Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year.

And now back to the important things, my railroad. Back at the beginning of the month I placed an order for 13 CFI's for layout lighting. They arrived last weekend. Having forgotten about them, I was quite surprised when I found the package at the back door.

I purchased from Valley Model Trains a kit by Brennan's Model Railroading for chain link fencing. I was confused when it arrived because it rattled when it was moved. The kit is quite neet. It comes with a 4" x 13 " piece of 1/4" peg board which strips of wood are glued vertically between the holes. Into the holes are 1/4-20 slotted screws which are held in with hex nuts.

As you can see in the photo I put one of the 1/4-20 screws in a hole. The slot in the screwhead is used to holed the wire for making the fence system. I bought this kit because it has the makings for gates which I'm going to put across the sidings at the mill.

When I started designing the railroad, I did not include reefer's. Not sure why, just came out that way. For operation, I'm going to use the old tried & true car-cards for car routing. And because of the space I am using, staging tracks really aren't an option. So to get the rolling stock on and off the layout is by using a cassette. The cassette is basically a long ended box with rails on the bottom for the cars. Each will be long enough to hold two 50'ers. The rails in the cassettes will also be powered so the cassette can also be used as a switch lead during operation. On the closed end will have a face plate on it to make it look like a drawer. There will be a rack under Hopedale to hold the cassette. Looking at the plan shows were the cassette is located at the end of Hopedale and it extends across to the wall were a structure will be located to hold that end of the cassette. Ian Rice developed the idea. I changed it for my application.

I found this site which has a car-card system which I will use to pick the cars to go on the railroad. For the system to work you need to insert information, rolling stock, industries, etc. Two such industry are a team track and a freight house. And at both I've listed receiving shipments for grocery stores. So this last week I got off eBay is this Intermountain reefer for frozen meat.

As you can see a little work is needed before it goes to work.

For control, I will be using the EasyDCC system with wireless throttles. It has a receiving station which can be placed anywhere you can get the best reception. Looking at the layout plan, the best place for the receiver is at the corner between Hadley and Hopedale. The command station and all the additions needed will be located under Claremont which is about midway between both ends of the railroad. In reading the installation instructions, the receiver can be placed further than 7' by using an extender and coaxial wire. So I bought an extender which arrived this past week.

I'm on vacation this coming week and I have projects lined up to work on. Don't know how many I'll get completed, but then I'm in no hurry. So I'm going to go get started.

See ya next time.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Railroad Doings

Hi Everybody,

Just thought an update was needed so here is what I've been doing.

Here's a photo of the RS-2. I couldn't stand looking at those huge gouges Weaver called panel lines. So while I was filling in the grills in the center of the roof I just decided to fill all of the grooves. You can see that all of the grill didn't get filled in. I have two photos of RS-2's that show the roof. One is a Leigh Valley RS-2 which is the better of the two and the other is of an earlier New Haven RS-2 which also has the same two grills open. After all the body work is done I will scribe new finer panel lines. The hinges on the corner panels above the side doors also need to be replaced. The two grills will also be opened up to help with ventilation as well as an opening for sound escape. Not much but every little bit helps.

I have a Ø3/4" speaker from Tonys Trains with an enclosure and the other speaker is a mid size rectangular speaker which will be mounted vertically inside the long hood just in front of the cab facing forward. The Ø3/4" speaker will be mounted under the radiator fan facing upward. After the fan grill is in place it won't be that visible. Course I don't know anybody who will be looking down in to the fan anyway.

The cab is also getting some more work done to it. More on it later. In the back ground can be seen a sheet of the custom decals I had made. Other colors that I got with the black is orange and white. The white of course will be for the caboose. The orange matches Reefer Orange the best. The two hoods will be solid orange and all the rest is black. The black decals will used on the hoods and the orange will be for the cab numbers. Now some will think it is a copy of the New Haven paint. Not true. The GE 70 tonners that were delivered to the St. Johnsbury & Lamoille County were delivered in this paint. Besides the New Haven had a stripe along the bottom of the hoods and I don't.

I've also begun figuring out and designing the road that runs out from the backdrop to the front edge of the layout. It is straight so construction will be simple. Nice size comparison using the boxcar in front. There is a photo that fits in between the buildings under the cross over between them but I'm planning on replacing it with a new one.

It won't be long until I can start building the main line and sidings. I've still got to get the lights up. But before the main can be started, the landscape between the siding and the main has to go in. I've got a picture of how I want it to look like in my head. I think Santa is going to bring me a Nook Grassmaster Static Grass Gun for the holidays and birthday all rolled up into one. My friend Trevor Marshall used one on his own defunct On2 layout with great success. I'm also thinking about a gate across the tracks right at the corner of the building on the left and the building across the sidings. It's the red building in the photos in my last post. It will be motorized. One more thing to add to the operation.

See ya next time.