I bought a few plaster cloths rolls and it has been bothering me that the area so see here only had pink foam and paper. Since I was putting joint compound on the walls and making a mess anyway, I figured "what's a little more mess".
The three rolls I had didn't go very far, so I ended up buying a box of twelve. Plaster cloth is a lot easier and less messy, but I'm going to have to go back to the old way, since I have plenty of hydrocal and the cost for the plaster cloth is so high.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
I bought a few plaster cloths rolls and it has been bothering me that the area so see here only had pink foam and paper. Since I was putting joint compound on the walls and making a mess anyway, I figured "what's a little more mess".
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
I spent the last two days running an auxiliary bus for layout lighting and accessories. When that was complete I put up the new reels of lights in the other areas that were needed.
One of the things that are different with this set of lights was that I needed to angle the lights a bit toward the backdrop. I had been mounting the lights on the front board of the upper level because the tape would be held with full contact. With upper level being wider at this point the lights were out at the very front. I placed a thin strip of wood angled at about 30 degrees toward the back, to allow the lights to shine a bit on the backdrop.
All of the light reels can be cut smaller and the cut pieces have a place to solder more wires on so the the cut pieces can still be used. I was told that soldering might not work, but I was able to do it and that means it can't be too hard.
Here you will see before and after pictures of the south end of the layout.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
The strip comes with a sticky backing, but until I was sure of where it will go and even if I liked it I temporarily fastenened it with tie wraps. This took all of 5 minutes.
Look at the difference in Brunswick once I turned the lights on. It probably looks better in person than with a picture. The LED's are about 1/2" apart so the lighting is real even. The front to back spread of the light seems real good also. If you are a purest with the color then you'll have to figure it out.
This is the LED strip. It is not much thicker than movie film. It comes in color temps, just like fluorescent lights do. I chose "natural light", 4000K-4500K, with a yellow background. There are other options in regular light and reds, blues and greens. You can get a white background and waterproof if you want. I figured worse case I can use them as under cabinet lights in the kitchen.
I put a link at the bottom, in case anyone wants to look. These are ordered from England, but then shipped from Hong Kong.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Not only is there local control for the new industries. The Searsport YM will be glad to know that four yard tracks were lengthened 1 to 1 1/2 car lengths, which should help, if just a little, in the yard. This was all there was room for.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
I found another small building for a siding that will probably be used in Wiscasset. It will be the only industry to be located there. It should give me a chance to try a milk train and give the passenger trains something to switch.
I also changed out the screens for the Eno Valley Dispatch Panel. It is very nicely done, so it will make a nice addition. The other monitors will be used as spares.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
The Icing Facility that was in Brunswick is now in Searsport. Laura Chemical from Johnstown, Lowsaw Pipe from Benny, Grandt Tool from Alto and Lee Beverage will also be in Searsport. I add 12 car spots with these changes.
I had a Northeast Pipe in Bucksport which will now be replaced as something to be determined later. All in all I was worried were I would place all of these structures and the layout sucked them up with Searsport being the place where you will notice the structures.
One the truly great model railroads (Ed Dougherty's Eno Valley)had to be dismantled. I purchased a lot of his structures for two reason's, to save me time in building and allow parts of his railroad to live on. The next few posts will show some of these items and my plan changes for them.
Friday, October 7, 2011
The problem was that an extra turn of the helix meant that I had to come out of the helix higher than a bridge that was right at the exit of the helixe and then I would have to work my way back down so the switching could be performed at the next town.
No problems were noticed right away because one of the groups that comes here regular runs the trains a little faster and they made it up the hill until a yardmaster overloaded the train. Then a new group of people started coming and they operate a bit slower than the first group and for three straight sessions we needed helpers. I don't mind helpers it adds a little to the session. However this helix is meant to be covered up and that won't work with helpers.
Now I must decide on a new plan. I made plenty of measurements and the only good one seems to be that I must raise the bridge. There were other options and I liked some of them better, but the only one that works all the way around is to raise the bridge.
This will take some time to figure out if it is the right thing to do. In the mean time I plan to add an engine to all trains going uphill and I will eventually double head the down hill also. Two engines per train has been the plan all along, I just had to get to it. I fixed issues with the worm gear on the Proto engines that already had decoders and added them to the trains. I have also installed decoders in 6 more engines and they'll be ready to add shortly. I do have to watch out because I'm sure I'm about to overload the single Digitrax booster I have.
The good news for some of my operators is that there will be a couple more steam engines to run now.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Steve Prevette dispatching during Sunday's session.
John Cox and his son John Working Bodwell Yard during Sunday's session.
Gil Brauch working Bodwell Yard while Roy Becker brings in the Wood Job during Friday's session.
John Cox working Porterfield Yard in Searsport during Friday's session.
Phil DeChene helping Yardmasters Cal Reynolds and Dave Chance to get oriented during Fridays session.
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Some people also don't understand how to handle the OFFSET car. I have only had two in all these months, but neither one has yet moved unless I restaged it. Re-training.
WJ-1's maiden voyage was off to a shaky start. It made it to Searsport, but the cars and Car cards didn't match when they got there.
On an up note, the paper mill and Yard special instruction cards were all handled the way I want to see it done.
Friday, September 2, 2011
I had an issue with a panel dying in the middle of the last regular session . I made a few changes before this session and the problem did not return. I had a sensor go bad in Rockland, so one of the mainlines is giving a false occupancy. I'll see if it can be fixed before Round 2, if not the dispatcher will have to work around it.
There were a few other minor details some fixed on the spot and some we'll have to live with this weekend.
All in all things went well. We went 12 hrs. into a 24 hr. schedule at a 4:1 ratio. The trains were slightly behind schedule. SK-1 will need to get its schedule adjusted. It always seemed to run way behind, which then causes a pile up at Searsport when it returns.
Finally the first Wood Job got its chance to run. It made it as far as Searsport when time ran out.
Monday, August 1, 2011
The last few days have been spent building a few cars for use as extras and to fill the Canadian train up. This will be a through train so I can put my duplicate train numbers and spare cars on temporarily. To make the train available I also put decoders into two more engines (with two more on the bench). We'll start seeing some double headed units soon.
This means I'll also need detectable cabooses. I went out and bought two more cabooses and rounded up a bunch of wheels to put into my new wheel jig to make resistor wheels. So now I have all of my cabooses detectable and I'm up to about 14 wheels with resistors. Good for about 7 cars. I'll soon find the matching wheelsets on the cars and we'll be seeing better detection as the number of cars with resistor wheels grows. This will take time though, I have about 250 cars to go.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I put down a little styrofoam today. The first part is coming out of the helix and up to the bridge at Acadia.
The second is the inside curve going up the hill into Searsport. I won't get to the actual scenery for awhile, but it covers up a few places where rolling stock could hit the ground.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I was able to get just about all of the backdrop ready for painting. The backdrop in some areas gave me trouble, so I'll have to work a little more to get it right. As soon as I can get some way to get more hardboard, this will have to do.
Rough guess says about 75% of the backrop is in and 90% of that is painted.
Some of the hardboard was prepainted blue. I used it as it got too narrow for backdrops. It looks kind of funny now since it matches the background color. The fascia will be painted green as time permits.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
I found some scrap pieces of wood a glued them together. I cut small slits in the boards to hold the axle's about 3/4" apart. I probably could have narrowed it down to 1/2", but this gives me plenty of room.
I cut the board into two 12" sections and then whatever was left over was the length of the last one. The longer one will hold 14 wheels. This is probably enough for me at any given time. The smaller one will hold eight wheels. I figure that it needs to be an even number because you will want 2 wheels per car.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
I finally had to get around to making some resistor wheels for my cabooses, since I added more trains to the layout. I had ordered the stuff months ago because I knew I would have to make about 600 before it was all over.
I opened up the resistor wheel and I couldn't believe how small the resistors were. All of the pictures I had seen made them look bigger than these. Look at the top picture on the left. See the small square dot in the middle of the upper axle, that is the resistor glued to the axle.
The lower axle is where I smeared on some conductive paint (and I mean smeared).
Here you can see two with paint and two more waiting. The paint becomes conductive in about 5 minutes.
It is a little difficult to use a paint pen on a small round object and keep the lines straight. Most of these didn't work right away, but it was usually just one leg from the resistor to the wheel needed a little more paint. It is easy to check which side needs more paint by measuring through the far side of the resistor to the opposite wheel. Then put more paint where it is needed.
I put them in the cabooses and then on the track to test and everything worked good. They ain't pretty, but they work. Hopefully I'll get better as I make 600 more.
The upper return loop has been connected and powered up. I'm just missing detection on the upper return loop. This should be fixed soon, but if I don't get it right away, the dispatcher has that section above his head so he should be able to see it.
I have been printing and verifying all of the paperwork for the last few days. What a chore that has been. All of the 75% of Car Cards were reprinted due to Home Yard changes or notes that the operators hand wrote in. All of the waybills had to be changed out with all positions verified and colors verified so that all will be cool.
6 more trains and about 15 cars were added. Only 2 left to go, but I'll have to get some more cabooses first. I had to restage a lot of the layout to match the new waybills and car cards. I wouldn't want someone to wonder why a car was on a certain train when its from location didn't look right.
I made changes to the time table, engine cards and positional duties that all had to be printed for the next session. The train instruction card had the schedule placed into it to help the engineer.
Needless to say I have been busy making sure all remnants of the out of date paperwork was gone and all of the new was in place.
Saturday, June 4, 2011
During the last session we found out that tonnage limits for the helix will be needed. The guys running their yards like to keep them clean and send out longer trains than I designed for. This got a local train stuck in the helix, partly do to the engine and partly due to the train being longer than it should be. We also ended up with a train that was four cars too long in Portland. Right now it didn't hurt too bad because I'm not using all of the tracks, but it will be a problem later.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
I changed some of the trains around and redid the time table so that the trains are in a better sequence. Now when a train leaves staging it's corresponding train in the opposite direction will also leave staging. This will allow for trains to always arrive in the same track from session to session.
I still have to adjust the wires in one of the new control boxes because it doesn't close just right. I also have to make a few more card boxes for the new towns. And don't forget the paperwork. With any luck it will all be correct so that the confusion level stays as low as possible.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
The next step is to clean up the mess I made and test the new track and if all goes well I'll add the new waybills. I will have to add about 20 more cars and bring back some cars that were a little more modern than I wanted. We'll have to see if I get 20 cars checked out.
To use the full layout I planned to change out all of the waybills, but I figure that I'm running short on time, so I decided to add some waybills for the new industries and I'll make the big change when there is more time.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Train PN1 is the first to arrive in Bangor, with Bangor and Aroostook, GP-7 #60 in the lead. PN2 followed shortly thereafter, with Maine Central GP-7 #567 in the lead. The Blue Ridge & White Mountain Railroad mainline is now operational.
Friday, May 6, 2011
When that was completed, I connected the TSM's to the computer and programmed them for operation. Then came the testing of the TSM's and after a few computer changes everything was working fine.
My next project was to finish hooking up 8 of the 10 tracks for power and the yard throat had to have power. The yard throat takes a lot of time because of all the turnouts require extra wires to make everything work OK.
I finally ran out of gas so the next time I go down there I'll quickly cut the gaps for the yard throat and then it will be time to test the engine and see if it runs. If all is successful I will be able to say that I can run trains throughout the complete layout. This might not happen until Monday.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
If I get all the way to staging I can add more trains and the dispatcher can control the upper level mainline. However, there won't be any switching from the two major towns on the upper level until I get a local control panel.
I guess I'll figure it out by Wednesday when I start the next batch of construction.
Friday, April 29, 2011
The coal track is in the foreground and could support 4 hoppers. Next up and going into and next to the building will be the warehouse tracks. Each track can hold 3 cars.
Behind the Warehouse will be the Kraft Mill. It can hold 2 covered hoppers. Right next to the tanks will be the tank dock unloading. 2 cars can be spotted there. In the middle is the pulp tracks and 2 cars can unload there. Finally going around to the right behind the main line is the wood chip track. This track can hold three to four cars.
You'll notice some space in the foreground. This may be a small holding yard for the papper mill. We'll have to see how this goes, before I decide to put it in.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
I finally got back to the layout after a nice vacation, but it is now time for the push to Bangor.
The sub roadbed has been completely connected throughout the whole empire. The mailine roadbed and track has been installed just past Orrington. The mainline turnouts are also installed. I'll need to work on the paper mill sidings next.
If you are familiar with the layout, that means the upper level track is now above Freeport. There is only one town left to go and it is just a single siding off of the mainline
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Right now I only have 1 electrical block without occupancy detection. I am talking about the whole layout. I am 1 motherboard short. I am a little short on detector cards, but I have tested all of the blocks with good boards so I know the computer sees it all.
I put all of the I/O boards in the other day and today we got them all wired up and the programs changed to recognize them all. They are working with no errors. Thanks to Dil Huey and Gordon Miner for that. They came before the session and helped to finish it up.
I have been wiring up tortoise machines for installation in the paper mill and upper staging. They'll be installed in the near future.
I think I finally got the radio working correctly. It took a lot of time an effort, but I didn't hear a complaint from anyone today. Things are looking up.
Friday, April 1, 2011
I emailed my computer genius (no not me)and he gave me things to think about. I have a couple of old computer boxes that were supposed to work, but I never had a chance to test them. The worst part was digging into the deep recesses of my brain. Way back to DOS.
I decided to change out the hard drive first and I was able to get the computer to boot up, although it needed the right files. I then decided that possibly the first drive had a stuck arm and decided that I would whack it a couple of times and maybe it would come up as the D drive.
Sure enough the hard drive came back to life. I quickly figured out all of the files I needed (I hope) on the backup drive and copied them over. Now I'm back in business and with another hard drive if needed.
I then went and updated the files to include some new additions.
Monday, March 28, 2011
This is the area north of the new bridge in Bucksport. The scenery was something from my old layout I called the notch. I had planned to put this piece in this spot and I'm glad I finally got to it. I had to try and match the track work with the scenery.
White Mountain Paper in Orrington is the biggest industry on the layout. I am laying out track to see if the planned arrangement is going to work. This track work is similar to what was on the old layout. This time there will be a passing siding which wasn't on the old layout. It looks like I'll have two new sidings. Coal for the power plant and an extra track to separate the tank cars from the covered hoppers.
Friday, March 25, 2011
I finished the bridge north of Bucksport. I was able to get the track installed approximately two feet past the new bridge. While I was working I went ahead and laid the roadbed about five feet past the track. The roadbed is now halfway to Orrington, the next big town. The Paper Mill will be located in Orrington. It is the major on line industry. Of course the electrical still need to be done.
I even went back and put the roadbed and track in between Acadia and Bucksport. I had a piece of scenery from the old layout I would like to try and reuse, so once I had its location figure out I could lay track in the now affected areas.
One town, one siding and approximately 50 feet to go.
The picture shows train NP1 waiting for track so it can get to Bangor, ME.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Started work on the bridge across the water heater. The hardest part was coming up with a way for it to be sturdy and easily removed in case of the water heater going out. Hopefully I have achieved what I was trying to achieve.
I have a section of scenery from the old layout that I hope to incorporate. It is kind of reminisant of Crawford Notch in New Hampshire. I placed the foreground scenery with the river on the benchwork and started work on the sub roadbed to see if it would work. The benchwork that I used the last time was the same width as this time. The track approach is just a little different.
Friday, March 18, 2011
First I moved around the UR-91 receiver, which didn't seem to change things. I then put in another UR-91. When the next session came around I was told that the problems still were there. Most recently I have added aux power to the UP-5's, which is supposed to help. The next session coming up we will text that change. I made two sets of power which have seven UP-5's and one UR-91 on each string. Of course now one guy says the UR-91's should be powered separately. I'll try this other fix first.
The farthest any radio should have to reach is about 15 feet, well within what many other people are using for a distance.
I also bought some new rechargeable batteries that are supposed to be the greatest thing. They charge fast and are a higher voltage (9.6v), which makes Loconet happy.
I had a small amount of momentum on some of the engines, which I took out, because the operators didn't like it. I hope that wasn't the reason we though we were having radio problems. There are a few engines that are slow starters anyway and I hope that isn't confusing the issue. I need to ask more questions when something happens
During the last week I put in the track in Bucksport 20 feet or so down from Acadia, which is now operational. I didn't connect the track in between because I need to think about the scenery. Nothing is wired up yet, but I have another session coming up and there are a few things to tweak on before the session.
I added the platform for the roundhouse / industry in Searsport. No new track, but some things will just have to wait. This area is inside of a loop and has some good possibilities. The biggest decision is whether to have an engine facility, industrial area, or just scenery.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
There have been some train changes to match the new businesses that are open. This adds six more trains and changes four destinations.
I changed out the tight curved turnout in Wiscasset. This gets a much larger curve going to Rockland for better tracking of trains. I lost a very small part of aisle space, but this was worth it.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
All of the Turnout controls except for track 4 in the yard is working fine. I'll have to do some troubleshooting to figure out where the problem is. Maybe I'll have to wait for my GURU. The last time I tried trouble shooting per his directions I blew some fuses.
The good news is I can temporarily run Searsport without that yard track, because there won't be that much traffic initially. This weekend it will be time to run engines and cars all around Searsport and all the way to Acadia. If all of that works, I'll open up Searsport for the next operating session. I'll use the two tracks on the upper level for temporary staging tracks.
Most of the work in Searsport is complete. All of the intended track is in and power is hooked up. The computer controls all turnouts correctly and blocks are indicating properly. The power hasn't been turned on yet, but that should be no problem. The new panel front has been made and painted. It just needs a couple of coats of lacquer to be finished. Then comes the wiring of the panel. If everything goes right I should finish it today. Then comes the testing to see if everything is ok.
Friday, February 18, 2011
I still have the local panel and track power to do before I can call it operational. That will probably start on Sunday.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Sub roadbed now reaches Bucksport. That is a distance of ~30 feet from the bridge I installed yesterday. There will be some adjustments along the way I'm sure, but for now I'll have to let the track catch up with the bench work.
I had to modify the exit point of the helix because I wasn't getting the the proper approach to the bridge to suit me. That is also complete. Once the cork is glued from the helix to the bridge I'll be able to lay down track. Then I'll have to go down to Bucksport and make sure the track there will really work. Besides I just had another idea so I'll have to play around with it (the idea) and see if it is worth pursuing.
The cork roadbed is up to the bridge and 3 feet beyond the bridge. This will give me plenty of opportunity for putting down track. I have been down in the dungeon a lot this week, now it is time to do something different.