Saturday, February 28, 2015

"If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else." - Yogi Berra

One of the things that was pointed out to me by Jim and Galen during the impromptu shake down session was the need to either label industry sidings, or have schematics somewhere to show where they were located.  I had been thinking on and off about how I was going to tackle this and with operations probably starting sooner than later, I put my mind to it and came up with my solution.

I used Windows Paint (One of the accessory programs that comes with every computer) to draw up map schematics to show crews where they were and industry locations with track names.

The pictures show my track diagrams.  I printed them out, cut them to size, and pasted them onto the fascia.  It was a simple job to get done and another thing got crossed off the punch list.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hump Day

I know, It's not Wednesday.  And if it were, I definitely wouldn't be posting a "Wordless Wednesday" post like I see so many other blogs do, posting random photos just so they run up their post totals. My friend Reilly seems to be the only one doing this that actually has photos that fit his layout's subject matter.. but I digress..  No, this post entry has nothing to do with Wednesdays and the traditional Hump Day meaning.  It has more to do with finally ridding the layout of one major operating headache and that's the hump that appeared at the beginning of the yard lead in York.  At first I felt it wasn't so bad till my friend Jim Schwitzer stopped by with his friend Galen to see the layout and test out some trains.  While running cars over the hump every so often they would uncouple.  We talked about some possible solutions that were short of tearing out the track and roadbed to level out the section.  There were a few turnouts there and I didn't want to have to pull them up if possible.  Jim suggested shimming a few spots further away from the hump to try and make it not as severe.  After they left I tried it, and it seemed to do away with the uncoupling problem.  All seemed well till this little guy arrived on the property..

Number 30 is the first engine back from the painter and DCC/Sound decoder installer.
The engine ran beautifully, with many pick up wipers installed, a TCS KA1 Keep Alive capacitor, Tsunami Sound etc... until it met "THE HUMP" where it promptly jumped the rails.  The little 0-6-0 could not run over the hump without derailing.  That settled it.  The track and roadbed had to come out.

One turnout, plus track and roadbed had to come up.

I was able to pull up the track and one turnout without damaging them.  I used a Surform tool to level out the foam, put down new cork and reinstalled the track and turnout.  I then reconnected the feeders, and test ran some trains through the section with number 30.  Everything runs fine now with no uncoupling, or derailments.

Everything back together and perfectly level.

 Now to move onto the other items on the punch list they left me...

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Two Turntables and a Microphone.. Beck

As promised in my Chinese New Years post, I'm going to be updating the blog on a more regular basis with what's been happening with construction and other various layout projects.

One such project, which is close to completion, is the turntable at York B Yard.  The B Yard in York had a 80' turntable and is a focal point of the yard.  The 3 stall engine house was here and all engines and motor cars were turned on the turntable.  One of the unusual features was how it turned:  The crew would hook up the air hose from the engine to the turntable and would actuate a piston which would press a plunger against cogs to turn the table.  I'm debating whether to add that visual feature to the model.

Not seeing any commercial offerings for a 80' turntable, and not wanting to try and build one from scratch, I looked at what was available commercially and came to the conclusion the Walther's 90' turntable was a close match visually.  The difference in length was a real one inch, but by modifying it, I felt I could come up with a good representation of the York Turntable.

This picture from George Hinton's book on the Ma & Pa was taken by W.R. Wright.  Here you can see one of the unique features of the turntable:  The pit walls dropped down to ground level where there were no tracks to connect with.

I chose this Walther's 90' Turntable to modify to represent the one in York.

After marking where to cut the walls down, I used my Dremel with a cutoff disk to cut down the pit walls.

I figured it would be easier to detail the pit before working on the rest of the turntable.  I painted the pit with cheap craft paint on the bottom and used black sanding grout to cover the bottom.

After the paint and grout dried I dumped off the loose grout.  I then wet down the grout with wet water and sprinkled on fine sand colored grout and some Scenic Express ground cover.  I the added diluted white glue to glue everything in place. 

Some of the areas where the York Turntable differs from the Walther's model is that it does not have an operator's cabin, nor does it have side railings.  I cut off the platform for the operator's cabin and the mounts for the railings.

The deck after surgery.

After all modifications I finished building the turntable according to the instructions. 
Here it is ready to be tested with my trusty old MRC power pack.

Here it is being test fitted back into the hole I cut out for it.  I had to cut a notch in one Gatorfoam cross brace to fit the turntable with the electric motor housing now attached.

I couldn't resist posing a engine on it for a picture. :)

All that's left to do is to fasten the turntable down the to layout and hook up the power supply and fascia control switch.  Once this is done I'll have two operating turntables at each end of the layout.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy Chinese New Year! Kung Hei Fat Choi! Congratulations and be prosperous!

From our family to yours, we wish you Happy Chinese New Year!  Kung Hei Fat Choi! Congratulations and be prosperous!

Although it hasn't shown up on the blog, lots of things have been happening on the layout.  Stay tuned for updates.