Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Answer is..

The answer to the "Where is this Wednesday #3" is downtown Yoe PA,  The picture by Art Kuperstein, shows the old hotel, and the station would have stood right across the street from it.  The station was razed in 1978.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

York B Yard Scale..

With the Ma & Pa only having 2 scheduled freights a day, I figure the yard crew would never be too stressed out in York, even with increased war traffic.  There are a few industries within yard limits that would have to be switched by the crew, but I have been worried the job wouldn't be challenging enough for someone who likes to work yard jobs.

One of the tracks in my B Yard is a gauntlet scale track, just like the one that existed there.  You can see how I built mine here:  

To give the crew some extra work I plan on having them "weigh cars" as part of the job.  Awhile back there was a discussion about the scale track on the Ma & Pa Yahoo list and someone who's name escapes me right now,  said they worked B Yard in the late 60's, early 70's and explained they would weigh every single car that came into York B Yard.  I'm not sure if this was just a practice during his time on the railroad or if this is something that was always done.  In any case, I'm going to try and see if this will work on the layout. 

I purchased one of the Boulder Creek Engineering Weigh Station Track Scales: 

and started installing it this week.  I wanted the scale readout module to be placed in B Yard, close to where the conductor of the crew would be working.  But with throttle holders, signage, track schematics, shelves etc, taking up space, I had to come up with a way to mount the readout module in that area and make it fit.  I found my solution at my friend Ted Pamperin's C&O layout while working my usual job on the west end of Hinton Yard. 

Ted made this control panel to tuck into the fascia in Hinton, right above the staging yard deck.  I realized using something like this, maybe hanging just below the fascia at B Yard, could be the answer to my problem.

Using the faceplate template that came with my Weigh Station, I cut Masonite slightly bigger than the plate.  I glued 2 square pieces of Masonite to the ends  with the faceplate section angled at 45 degrees to make seeing the Weigh Station easier.  

I marked the fascia using the Masonite holder as a guide, then used my RotoZip to cut 2 notches to slip the holder into the fascia.  After a test fit, I painted the holder black and after it dried, I remounted and glued it onto the fascia.  The next day I installed the weigh Station module.

This is how it looks on the layout after installation.  All that's left to do is install and hook up the infrared detector on the scale track, and we'll be ready to add weighing freight cars to the yard crew's responsibility.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Answer is..

The answer to Where is This Wednesday #2 is:  Jim Gallagher on November 10, 1955, took the photo of Engine #43 on the Gross Trestle in Harford County.

You can obtain a signed copy of one the most iconic pictures taken of the Ma & Pa on the Societies Merchandise page for $20.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Where is this Wednesday #1

OK I've vaguely complained in the past about blogs with Wordless Wednesdays and I'm not starting that here.  My friend and fellow blogger Darel Leedy has on his blog about his Colorado & Southern layout what he calls Roper's Snapshot Saturday (Roper is his highly intelligent dog who has an eye for picking out unique photos of the C&S) and instead of being a week excuse for a post to run up post numbers, it starts conversations and contributions from his blog readers.  Even though I have virtually  little knowledge of the C&S, I find it highly entertaining reading what people post about the photos.  So in the spirit of Roper and his snapshot Saturdays, I'm starting here my Where is it Wednesdays. Although I do not have a smart dog like Roper to pick out my pictures, I will muddle through and try to post pictures of the Ma & Pa and see if you my readers can guess where the location is.

So without further adieu, we'll start week 1 with the cover photo for this blog:

Where is this? :)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

To Rule G.. Or Not to Rule G.. Um.. What was the question?

If you have ever run in the same circles as some of us characters with layouts in the North and Central part of NJ, you'll undoubtedly know rule G (No drinking alcoholic beverages while on duty on the railroad) is strictly NOT followed.  One could argue during the heydays of railroading, a lot of the railroad men drank before or while on the job. My former mother-in-law told me about her father who was a brakeman for the NYC out of Selkirk NY.  He and his crew were alcoholics. Scary thought!  Dave Ramos has two mini fridges stocked with beer, soda, Scotch and jokes that his NY Harbor RR is just like it was back in the days he's modeling, with a bar on every block.  

Now, am I saying we get plastered during operating sessions. NO.  Do we have a beer or two, or maybe a small glass of scotch? YES.  I know some layout owners would be aghast at the thought of people drinking while operating their layouts.  To each his own.  Which gets me back to the whole point of this post, which BTW has nothing to do with rule G but more to do with having your layout and the space it occupies more accommodating to the comfort of your guests (operators).

Whether or not you allow beer while operating, you might be open to people having water bottles, cans of soft drinks, cups of coffee etc.  Where do they put them while operating?  Well one option is to put some shelves along the fascia and another is to use some of those fold down drink holders made by New Rail Models.  I have both.  

Here you can see two of the five New Rail Model fold down holders and one of the three shelves I have around the layout.  The selves can hold drinks, but also can be used to hold paperwork while operating.

Here is a closeup of the New Model Rail holder in action.  Hey that's not beer! :P

The shelves were picked up at Odd Lots one day when I was shopping with my wife.  I'm always on the look out for things that could be used on the layout, no matter where we are shopping.  These came as a set of 3 and were cheap, and the right color, so I bought and installed them.  The New Model Rail holders came in a 5 pack that I got a great deal on this past weekend at the Greenburg Train Show in Edison, NJ from my buddy Tom Callan of Shortline Hobbies.  All I need now is for the mini fridge to return from it's stint at Rutgers University and we'll be all set for operating night! :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Loads of Fun..

The great thing about the hobby of model railroading is you have so many things you can work on.  If you get tired of working on one area of the layout you can do something else.  Build a kit, detail a scene, work on some motive power etc.  With all the focus lately on the turntable, schematics, wiring  some controls, I decided on a little diversion and worked on some scratch built loads for some of my hoppers.

An article in the latest Model Railroader got me to thinking about making my own loads, and it seemed like a fun, simple project.  I do have some loads that were produced by my friend Jim Harr of Stella Models.  He had donated a whole bunch of them to the NERPM and I won all of them in the door prize raffle!

The Stella loads I won were good for some Accurail, Walthers, and Athearn cars.

What I didn't have were loads for Stewart fish belly hoppers.  So I made my own.  I measured the Stewart hoppers and cut a piece of pink Styrofoam to fit inside.  I then carved it to the profile of the coal load I wanted to represent.  I first painted the Styrofoam black with some old Poly S steam power black I had laying around.  Then, while the paint was wet, I put a coating of my black sanded grout.  I then wet the grout to activate it's binders then poured on black craft sand I picked up at Dollar Tree for $1 a bag.  The black sand looks like a good representation of coal.  After I got the sand shaped to the contours I wanted I hit it with some wet water, then a 50/50 solution of white glue and water.  I then let all dry over night.

In this picture: 4 finished loads, Poly S steam power black (any black will do actually), my mustard bottle full of white glue/water mixture, and the Steward hopper the loads fit into.

Here is a comparison: the long LV hopper has a Stella load in it and the short fish belly LV hopper has one of my home made loads.

This project was a fun diversion, and it took just about an hour and a half to complete 4 loads.  :)