Monday, July 29, 2013

Making Hay While the Sun Shines...

I finally was able to get some time down in the basement to work on the layout.  It's cooled off here in NJ and the kids have been spending more time up stairs, so I had some time to work on a couple of projects that weren't finished before the heat wave.

I worked on laying track on the last two sidings that needed them:  Mitzel Coal located in B-Yard in York, and T.H. Knisely in Red Lion.  I also worked on getting feeders attached, and getting everything tied into the power bus.  I had put off finishing these last two sidings till I made the final decision on how they were going to be handled scenically.   After studying all the photos I had on these two coal dealers I determined I can get away with foam ramps for each.  Mitzel Coal's ramp was located in B-Yard and there was vegetation and a stockade style fence that blocked any view of the actual trestle from the yard.  The coal delivery trucks were serviced on the other side in the coal yard which is not seen from B-Yard.  So, a simple foam ramp and building flats will work here fine.

A view of the ramp going to the Mitzel Coal "trestle" in B-Yard.  There is a slope down to the scale track on the prototype and a stockade fence.  You'll see the coal cars on the "trestle" but not the actual structure.

Mitzel Coal ramp is to the right of the scale track behind the fence and vegetation.  Copyright photo courtesy of Dick Bradley.  All rights reserved.

After studying photos I determined the bottom part of the T.H. Knisely covered coal trestle was obscured enough by vegetation I can get away without detailing the bottom part of the trestle.  Again, the dealer trucks and customers were handled on the other side of the building where it's not visible from the layout isle.  I might use a small photo flat for the bottom so the little bit that might show through the vegetation will be convincing. Also, I'm stretching history a little here because the info that came with the photos said the trestle was out of service by 1940, 3 years before the time I'm modeling.  I'm OK with that, since this adds another place to switch in Red Lion.

Here is the ramp to T.H. Knisely Coal in Red Lion, PA. 

T.H. Knisely covered coal trestle.  Notice the vegetation growing around the bottom of the trestle. The photo was taken in 1963 or 1964, and photographer was standing on front of Ma & Pa locomotive #82 while diesel was pulling a freight train north.

Photo from the Alan J. Frame collection used by permission of The Ma & Pa Historical Society archives. 

Another view of T.H. Knisely Coal from the cab of #82.  Lots of vegetation visible on all sides of the building.  Yes, this is a late picture,1963, which is a full 20 years after the time period I'm modeling, but I think since the east side of the building, the part facing the tracks, wasn't part of the coal yard's workings, it's plausible there wasn't much in the way of landscaping going on there.  The photo was taken in 1963 or 1964, and photographer was standing on front of Ma & Pa locomotive #82 while diesel was pulling a freight train north.

Photo from the Alan J. Frame collection used by permission of The Ma & Pa Historical Society archives. 

The heat wave that had been plaguing NJ has subsided this week and I took the opportunity to get the chop saw outside and start cutting all the Masonite fascia boards that I had measured previously.  I got them all cut and they are ready to go for the next time some of the guys come over to help out.

Masonite fascia sections laid out where they will be eventually fastened to the layout.

More fascia ready to go.

Many thanks to Alan J. Frame for letting me use his images and to Rudy Fischer with helping me to get that permission.  This is another example why belonging to a Historical Society is such a valuable resource! 

Stay tuned for next time as we do some more blog roll house cleaning..

20,000 Thanks!

When I signed onto blogger tonight I saw that the blog just hit it's 20,000th view!  I'm amazed by that, and the fact that I've kept at it this long.  Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to visit!  I really appreciate the support and feedback I've received since I started this blog. :)

I had hoped to have a longer progress report post up this past week, but I've run into a delay.  I was hoping to use a couple of photos of the prototype's location to go along with my photos of the modeled version of the location.  I wanted to do the right thing by asking permission and giving the proper credit for the photos.  Rudy Fischer from the Ma & Pa RR Society has been trying to help me by contacting the photographer, but as of today, we've gotten no response.   I'll wait a little while more, but if I have to I'll just publish the post without the pictures. 

Thanks again for visiting and supporting my Ma & Pa RR 1943 blog. :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"We come from the land of the ice and snow, From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.." The Immigrant Song- Led Zeppelin

I was very busy this past month.  Amy and I just returned from our cruise of the North Sea and Baltic Sea region in Europe.  I literally finished work on the last day of school June 19th, ran home, grabbed our bags, hopped in a cab to Newark Liberty, and took off for England that night!  We had gotten a phenomenal deal on a 12 night cruise out of Dover England on Carnival and sailed to Copenhagen Denmark, Warnemunde Germany, Helsinki  Finland, St. Petersburg Russia, Talin Estonia and Brugges Belgium.  What a fantastic itinerary and we had a very enjoyable vacation!  What does this have to to do with modeling the Ma & Pa you ask?  Not a damn thing outside of obviously not being able to work on the layout during this time. :p  But if you would indulge me, I'd like to share a little of what we saw on this trip (train related) and I promise some Ma & Pa RR 1943 layout content at the end. ;)

In Warnemunde Germany (which used to be in what was once East Germany) we boarded a coach bus to visit the "Molli" RR in Bad Doberan.

The Molli is a narrow gauge line (900 mm) that runs from Bad Doberan to Kuhlengsborn on the Baltic Sea coast.  It was founded in 1886.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm a closet traction fan so I really enjoyed seeing a lot of the tram systems throughout our travels around the world.  This tram was on one of the main thoroughfares in Helsinki Finland.

A local commuter train at the Helsinki Train Station.

Another highlight of the trip for me rail wise was our excursion into the Metro Subway in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The subway was built at up to 100 meters (about 300 feet) below ground during the Stalin Era.  It's one mighty long escalator ride to get in and out of the Metro.

Inside and out, the equipment doesn't look like it's changed much during the years.

Our train pulling into the station.

One of the lines we traveled.

A modern tram in the middle of St. Petersburg.

Here is an older, more utilitarian looking tram located in Talin Estonia.

One of the unique things we experienced on the cruise was the midnight sun.  In St. Petersburg they call it "White Nights".  Here in this photo it's just past midnight.

Another look at the midnight sun. This was taken just after midnight the night
after we sailed from St. Petersburgh. The sun finally sets around 1am and rises again just after 4am this time of year.

And how could we be in London and not ride on their famed "Tubes"?  The London Underground was the most convenient way to get around the city, and it is celebrating it's 150th year of operation, having first opened in 1863!

Thanks for indulging me and now time for some Ma & Pa RR 1943 layout related content:

While we were away, Sign-O-Matic, a sign engraving company based in Sweden: 

was producing and shipping an order for some layout signs that I designed on their website.  I've seen quite a few other model railroaders using their service and all of them say they were pleased with what they received from Sign-O-Matic.  I kicked some designs back and forth with my friend Jim Fawcett and we debated (or as Jim said at one point: we OBSESSED over) the right design before I finally bit the bullet and ordered the signs just before I left.  

Here are the signs I ordered from Sign-O-Matic in Sweden.  I designed the 3 town signs with feedback from my friend Jim Fawcett.  I also designed direction arrows for orientation, and some nice little Ma & Pa heralds for each location.

I'm very pleased with the way these signs turned out!  The total cost was $43 USD (that included $4.50 shipping from Sweden) and I feel the quality of these engraved acrylic signs are well worth the price.

And don't think the irony of the fact I probably crossed paths with my signs during our trip to the Baltic after they were shipped didn't cross my mind.  We were just across The ├śresund Bridge from Sweden while we were in Copenhagen Denmark.  Maybe I could have picked them up in person and saved the $4.50 shipping...