The Roster

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Phase 1 testing accomplished!

I was able to complete my testing of various locomotives traversing the outer loop of the layout today. Both the American Models 4-8-4 Northern and the American Flyer U33C successfully traveled the outer loop including the rebuilt 'ridge' in the back of the layout. Each locomotive hauled the same consist - 4 freight cars and a heavy caboose (the new Lionel Great Northern caboose). The Northern had a little trouble - as to be expected - but the U33C cruised up the grade and around the layout.

Want proof? I actually shot some video of each train. Not the best footage, but it shows the trains in action.

Here's some overview shots that show the new 'lay of the land' on the ridge. Formerly, I'd planned to locate coal loader on top of this hill, but the revised track plan no longer supports that concept. So...I'm thinking that this space will become a neighborhood of small tract type homes with a small church. Sort of a typical lower to middle income area with small homes along a street with the railroad running across their back yards (not too different from what I grew up with back in the 70's).

Overview of the ridge community showing the tunnel for the middle loop.  

Oriented more to show the tunnel and how narrow the ridge has become.

The buildings will be the classic Plasticville Cape Cod homes.

Here's a show of the future 'East Yards" still need to lay the road bed for the sidings

And a shot of the "East Fork" of the river. The inner loop's roadbed in the foreground.

On a related note, I stopped by Wally World the other day and found a neat addition for the scenery - an Austin London Taxi. The model is labeled as being 1:63 scale, so you can drop this in to your layout with little worry. (and you can drop it into your 25mm games as well - who doesn't need an unmarked black sedan to wish your VIP out of harms way).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Plugging away!

I've been on a design and road bed laying binge for the last week. I've almost got the roadbed in for the inner loop. The big obstacle is...a river! I need to bridge it (anyone got a Bailey Bridge?'s an inside joke.) I planned on using the American Flyer girder bridges to bridge the span.

The only problem is the the river is so wide I'd need two spans 'back to back'. Not necessarily a bad problem, but I want to shop around and explore the options to find a large single span bridge. I am already using an American Flyer 750 bridge on one loop. I need something similar for the current project.

Soooooo....its off to the big train show this weekend to search for a new bridge. I've got a couple of ideas. I've seen an O gauge bridge that would work...preferably one that will not break the bank like a River Raisin Models Pratt Truss Bridge.

So we could conceivably have the inner loop done by Christmas or New Year of 2012. It'll be nice to be able to run three trains at once. It still leaves lots to do in terms of finishing off the yards and planning the coal flood loading facility.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Back on track!

I finished relaying the track on the back end of the outer loop!

So the track is back in place. So far its passed most of the tests:

  • American Flyer Atlantics traversed the loop without derailing. (The turnout I left open that led right off the edge of the table doesn't really count - operator error on my part...and I caught it before it fell). This was a very basic test to confirm that the pilots and trailing truck would not derail.
  • Showcase line SW-9 navigated the loop without incident. Another basic test with a short wheelbase locomotive.
  • American Models GP-35 cruised around the back without a problem. A bit longer in length, but still a 4 axle locomotive.
  • American Models SD-60 sailed around the loop. A long, 6 axle heavy hauler. Things are looking good!
  • American Flyer 4-6-4 Hudson. A bit longer in the drivers than the Atlantic. A good test prior to running the Northern 4-8-4 around the loop.
  • In most of these tests, the locomotive hauled a consist of Gunderson well-deck container carriers. The cars ranged from empty to double-stacked. No real problems - the empty cars seem to derail in one spot going clockwise. Its an issue that was present with the prior track that the rebuild apparently did not address.

The next tests will be the American Models 4-8-4 Northern and the American Flyer U33C pulling a variety of rolling stock.

Having the loop working has been a very positive experience. So much so that I laid the roadbed for 8 feet of the inner loop today. If I can keep up this pace, the roadbed and the track might be done before Christmas. Yay!

I'll work on getting picture and/or video of the new loop up in the next few days.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I've been workin' on the (model) railroad!

Re-reading the blog, I've found  that its been over eight months since I realized t hat I needed to rebuild the outer loop of track.

Well, last weekend I bit the bullet and started ripping it out. I was surprised how quickly I could remove the excess grade while salvaging a remarkable amount of the layout. Over the course of the week I've re-cut the tunnel, installed the framing and the tabletop, sanded the new lane to a - hopefully - smoother gradient and installed the new road bed. Whew!

Now I need to get more paint to cover the road bed and install new track (some of the old track didn't deal too well with being removed).

This was so motivational, I cleared the table and started the prep work for the inside loop. I know what this year's winter project is going to be!

S Gauge - The Next Generation

Ran across this video today on Youtube. Who says all S Gaugers are old men?  Greg shows a better understanding of the electrical system than I had at a similar age.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rail Disaster

Jan Mason shared this photo from the recent Dayton train show.

An American Flyer Light Mikado goes off the rails and snags two more trains.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dayton - NMRA Division 3 Train show

This past weekend was the National Model Railroad Association Midwest Division 3 train show held at Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio. The Hara show is a large show featuring a number of train club layouts - including the club of which I am a member - the Miami Valley S Gauger's.

The Hara Arena is an older venue, but has the one commodity that train clubs really need - space. This space was split between a large vendor hall and an exhibitor hall full of operating model train layouts and various clubs and businesses.

Vendor hall at the Hara Arena show.

Exhibitor Hall - the MVSG layout is way in the back.

This show is always fun due to the diverse number of exhibitors and vendors in attendance.

Within our own club there were a number of members that brought trains to run on the layout. Saturday featured something of a glut of classic American Flyer trains - Atlantics, Pacifics and Hudsons shared the rails with GP-7 and F-7's.

The main yard on Saturday with GP-7, Pacific's and F-7 raring to go.

Rich brought his customized Franklin locomotive - with a good smoke unit and a LED headlamp, this was something to see hauling a string of Frontier passenger cars and a flat car with a cannon. Of course, I totally failed to take any pictures of his train.

A picture of the Franklin with cars

Another shot of a Franklin

So lots of time to operate trains at this show. I ran my latest acquisition - an Atlantic 4-4-2 (#21160) pulling a mixed string of freight cars. 21160 ran strong for an hour or so. Not bad for a 50 year old locomotive!

Rich also brought my American Flyer 0-8-0 # 343 back from the shop. I got a good price on it, but it needed a fair amount of work to get back to running condition. One nice reward was Rich pairing my 343 with his and 'double heading' the two switchers with the same string of freight cars the Atlantic had been pulling.

Sunday brought a fun annual event - Paul Rinehart running his string of 49 freight cars in S. Paul started pulling this monster with his American Flyer "Big Boy" then swapped it out for the Light Mikado. Both of these locomotives were equipped with Lionel's Train Master Command Control (TMCC) system.

The old yard is empty....except for two Big Boys and a Pacific.

 Joe Greene's cattle yard occupies a prominent corner module and is quite photogenic with its impressive collection of toy cows and stockyards.

Its a busy day at the stockyard, while in the background, Joe (in the hat) and Bob troubleshoot an electrical issue with the accessory computer.

A fun show as always - there were a number of American Flyer / S Gauge vendors in attendance ranging from Art Lofton's parts depot to Dave Blum's Pikeville Models. I managed to confine myself to a few parts and some additional lights from John Gaffney's store.