Saturday, August 20, 2016

East Riverton IT - Roadbed Down

This afternoon I started putting down the cork for the roadbed. Now, in the book, Lance just puts his directly on the foam subroadbed. Since I'm trying some things out, I figured I'd put the track up off a little bit from the subroadbed. I had intended to use the "Camper Tape" from the couple of articles in Model Railroaders and "How To Build Realistic Reliable Track". The issue was I wanted 1" wide roadbed and the kind I bought was 1 1/4". The adhesive was so sticky that I couldn't really cut it. So instead, I'll go with one layer of cork under all track and one layer up on the main, tapering down to the sidings. Anyways, here's my step by step on how I did it.

First, I printed the plan into 1:1 and taped the sheets together

Then I put it down on the layout.

I used push pins to keep the plan in place. I then used a little hobby knife to cut slits in the plan on each side of the push pin. I then lifted the plan off the layout, leaving only the push pins.

Then I connected each push pin with a ruler and straight edge. This gives me my centerline to lay the cork later.

For cork, I think N scale cork roadbed is too wide. I reached back into my browsing archives and pulled up an article done by a modeler taken too soon from us, and followed it to produce 12 strips of cork, plenty in this case.

Glue, pin, glue pin, cut, repeat, etc. led to the first layer down:

A couple of quick thoughts. First, since I had sheet cork, I should've just traced the turnouts and cut out the roadbed for them. I definitely will for the second layer. Second, creating my own actually went quicker then I thought. Finally, I need more push pins or I over did it with them, but can never be too safe, right?

After about 2-3 hours of letting the cork and wood glue dry, I put on the second layer, using full sheet to cut out turnout and then patching together about 4-6 inches for the siding transitions. I'll end up sanding them down probably tomorrow night. Completed cork roadbed:

Thursday, August 18, 2016

East Riverton IT - Ready for Track!

I got the fascia finished and backdrop painted. Amazing what you can do between conference calls and waiting for code pushes. Anyway, here is the pick of the shelf all ready for track markings and then roadbed and track!

East Riverton IT - Painting Ground and Fascia

I went to an operating session last night but when I came home, I went down to the basement (eventually) and decided to paint the layout a base color of Nutmeg brown. I use an acrylic craft paint from Walmart. It's a little dark but I think it'll be ok for the base color for the layout:

Then this morning since it's a work from home day, I taped off the top and painted the fascia a Black Onyx Grab-n-Go, semi-gloss, from Walmart. I think it looks good but we'll see if I need another coat in an hour or so:

Who knows, maybe tonight I paint on the sky and we're ready to lay track tomorrow night!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

East Riverton IT- Fascia and Backdrop installed

Spent this afternoon cutting up some tempered hardboard and got the fascia and the backdrop attached for the switching layout:

Now to put some base coats of paint on and then to trackwork!


Friday, August 12, 2016

Free Flowing Crossovers

Thursday night was supposed to be a "soccer team paperwork" night but since parents didn't give me all the information I needed, I ended up deciding to experiment with reducing the spacing of crossovers using a handful of turnouts I bought which were previously used. That's important because the first one I did was wrought with gobs of solder and solder rail joiners (PLEASE STOP DOING THAT PEOPLE!). Anyways, I dug out my Pelle Søeborg book, Rebuilding a Layout From A-Z, as I remembered he had an article in that. I followed his instructions except for one step, and it cost me some ties. Here's the first attempt:

Not bad, I could run a 53' box car through it no problem. I should've put flex or sectional pieces on the other sides just to see stability wise. This one took me like 30 minutes to do. The next one took me about 10 minutes and I decided to join them together.

There's a slight bend but that's probably to be expected since there aren't straights to anchor on either side. I tried to arrange them so the headblock would be in the right place but the other side was a cut soldered track joiner. I'll experiment a little bit more as I think there's going to be a set "cut here", take away this many ties type work as well as a little bit just getting used to cutting rail and ties smoothly. Of course, working with brand new fresh minted turnouts will probably help as well.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Mansfield Updated Plan

So while I got the hardboard to finish the base of the switching layout but need a few free hours to finish the cuts for the switching layout as well as a family layout I promised I'd build with my daughter 2 years ago, I've been taking Bob Sprague's design for Mansfield based layout and transferring it over to Xtrkcad.

A couple things I noticed was I apparently gave Bob the wrong dimensions for the long wall. What I gave him was the length of the wall that I built. Unfortunately, I neglected to remember that I put the end wall inside that wall so the available length was 3.5" less. Not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but it kept messing up my transfer measurements. Anyways, while doing this, I also kept looking at the Wooster switching area and felt I could "cram" a few more industries in there. An operationally interesting aspect of Wooster is for some reason CSX retained during my time frame about a 2 mile section of track that came off the Ft. Wayne line at CP Big Run. This was part of a longer line that ran apparently from Millersburg, Oh, through Wooster to Lodi, Oh. After much scrapping over the years, all that was left was this small branch line. In 2002, it was sold or leased over to RJ Corman but the operations were still the same, CSX would bring a train into Massillon and then enter the Ft. Wayne Line at CP Mace, travel to Wooster to CP Big Run to get up the little branch to server customers. Searching online, information from 2005 indicated the following customers:

  • Firto Lay
  • Advance Drain (plastic)
  • Midway Supply (pipe)
  • Buckeye Supply (pipe)
  • Wooster Iron & Metal (scrap metal)

Looks like most of these are still served in some manner, maybe not the two pipe ones unless they are a laydown area like for Advance Drain at the run around. I also think there is a grain elevator back there. Anyways, I decided I wanted to include this operation and have room in staging as CSX and ASRY could share the same staging track. I decided to remove "Ohio Power" and put in Frito Lay as the backdrop flat. This will make switching fun as there are specific spots for specific cars. I also added a track along the front that will serve two purposes, first a laydown area for one of the pipe vendors and then across the road an entrance to the scrap dealer. This will give 3 customers for the CSX local to serve. I also added a 3rd track through Wooster as there was a "siding" called the Wooster Industrial Lead on the Conrail ZTS that paralleled the mainlines which was used for access to these specific interchanges and industry leads.

Anyways, here's the updated plan:

While I'm building the little switching layout, I'm going to keep cleaning the basement up a little at a time (unless my local operating crew wants to come over for beers and trash bags). Hopefully come Labor Day weekend I can start construction using the same method as the switching layout, assuming my Crohn's is still under control then.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Build Something

It's been a while, I know. Well, life and health got in the way that is only being diagnosed and treated now. I don't think I've ever mentioned this, but I have Crohn's and I've only really ever had 2 active sessions since being diagnosed 20 years ago, 1 that led to surgery, another that led to scaring. Well, I'm in the midst of a 3rd but it's being treated at the moment and I'll be going through the normal round of looking at my guts to figure out location and best treatment. Anyways, that's one of the primary reasons nothing's happened on the layout or anything really.

I have friend though who always says just build something, anything, to get even 1 car and an engine moving on track. Well, today I took that plunge. I'm a fan of Lance Mindheim and I bought most of his books on operation, switching layouts, and various plans. I decided to do something small to start out and will be doing my interpretation of the layout he builds in How to Build a Switching Layout. He calls it "The Palmetto Spur". I'll call it something else, eventually, but for now, here are some progress shots. First up, here's the design:

In the book, the HCD sized is 16" x 80". A direct reduction to N scale would be just under 9" x 43", so I went with 9" x 48". I decided on the 48" length because I had bought a few 2x4 handy panels at Lowes or Home Depot, can't remember. These were 1/2" plywood so I decided to give it a shot.

The technique I decided to use is one I've watched Mark Lestico use on his former Cascade Sub and current HO Port of Long Beach. Last Black Friday I bought a Kobalt portable table saw and decided today would be the day I worked it out.

This thing rocks, btw. If you have the opportunity to get a portable 10" table saw, do it. It wasn't too hard for me to get up out of he basement and setup was easy, I even read the manual and realized I could store everything within it when folded up!

 I cut out 1 9" wide section, a couple 4" wide sections, a couple 1 1/2" wide sections. The 4" wide sections would be the "wings" supporting the bench work as well as one of the stringers. The 1 1/2" wide sections would be a stringer as well as setup for the staging cassette. Here's the obligatory I cut everything out pic:

So basically with glue and some pneumatic finishing nails, I was able to build out the basic benchwork for the layout with the cassette. The finished product below, along with the wood glue and pneumatic finishing nailer for affect:

I need to go get either 1/4" thick wood or plywood for the fascia and backdrops. I may stay away from hardboard here, but I have to see what my local big boxes offer. Hopefully get them on quickly and start the whole painting stuff, laying track this up coming weekend.


Welcome to the my Conrail Model Railroad site. I will document the research, design, construction and operations of my N-scale model railroad based on Conrail's Ft. Wayne Line in Ohio.

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