Friday, October 12, 2012

Staging tracks are different lengths

I overheard during railrun that the Carolina Southbounds staging tracks were slightly different in length. It got me to thinking that I might have the same issue. I went back to the layout and discovered that each track in Bangor (Northern Maine Jct.) is in fact slightly longer than the corresponding track in Portland by 6 - 9".
The CSX Shenandoah Div has a point where you measure the train length, so that the dispatcher will know where to have meets based on what sidings you can fit in.
I limit trains to a length that will fit in all of the tracks in staging. A one size fits all approach. However, there are times with car cards that you can have too many cars for the staging track and it would be nice to know if a train will fit with extra cars. The cars range in lengths from 30 - 50 feet, so you don't always know if something will fit. So I measured each track for length and at one end each of the yards I marked the spot where the engine should be and marked the other end of the benchwork with the length for the track and the track number. Once the yardmaster knows the track associated with a train, he should be able to determine what will fit in each track.
The hard part will come when scenery goes in and we'll have to figure out a way to do this and not detract from the scenery.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Rail Run Update

I have been doing all of the little things to make it easier on someone to make their way through the layout. Recently there have been operational changes which required paperwork changes including timetables, train instructions, etc. I believe all of this has been done and printed. Cars were added and waybills were updated. Directial labels indicating North and South were placed in all of the towns.

I finally got my CAD program up and running so I could make updates to the town drawings. Of course, it is a new program so I needed to relearn how to do things. I hung plastic sign holders around the layout and now I can insert the drawings into these holders, so the operators will know where the industries are.   Lets see if I can get the fascia skirting up before they come.

Milk Trains

It has been a long time coming, but the passenger trains now have work to do. All passenger trains will have a stop where they swap out Express Reefers at a dairy. They are basic moves, but it gives the passenger train engineers and the dispatcher something else to do.

Coming soon will be the picking up or setting out of a coach at Brunswick. I might be ready in time for rail run on Friday. I will have to see how many cars I have available.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Marsh Stream

The Marsh Stream is nearly done. I need ballast on the main line a maybe some bushes.

From Bucksport looking toward Acadia
Enjoying the fresh Fall Air
Another look at the mixture of foreground trees and painted backdrop.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Scenery Update

I made a second pour in the river today and it looks a little better. More like a river than a pudle. This came with home made issues of course. I started painting the backdrop and twice got into the epoxy while it was setting up. The first was early on and was no problem. The second time I laid my arm in it as it was setting up. It looked ugly at first with wispy strings coming off my arm. However, there was still enough flexibility that it settled back some. I remembered that I had some canoes that would be perfect right there. Now it looks like a little wave action around the canoes. As Bob Ross would say "A happy accident".

As you can see it should be good. I'll add the people later. I don't want to get near the water again until it is ready.

This is the backdrop that got me in trouble with the river. I have been having trouble with the fall trees, but I think I finally got it. It is too bad that this will get covered up with forground scenery.

This is an unfinished section where I placed some pine trees. I hate to throw away paint, so I used as much as I could. I'll go back later and put in some more trees. The one thing I don't usually have trouble with is Evergreens.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Water Flowing

I have been working on the other river and it is taking way too long. I think I have the final pour complete and now I have to wait and see if I tinted the gloss medium properly.

I spent the day putting in sculptamold around Wiscasset, where the new dairy went in. It fills in the space between the facia and tabletop.

I had more time on my hand and I have been wanting to work on the next river. I spent time putting in the rocks and sand that would be in the river. I got out the Envirotext Lite and mixed up a batch and poured away. I wish I made just a little more, but I was able to work it were I needed to. I figure to do another pour as soon as I can.

River between Bucksport and Acadia.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wiscasset gets its first industry

I have been talking a while about adding a dairy in Wiscasset. This dairy would be served by the passenger train turning it into a true Milk Train. I finally got around to adding it and all was going well until I realized that the local control panel didn't have a button for this siding. That thought never even occurred to me. I also thought that I already programmed the computer for this siding. It turned out that I programmed it on the new version of the disatch panel...OOPS.

The next session may not have local control of this siding, we'll just have to see how far I get. Then again, if I don't get the scheme figured out and the way bills changed we may just ignore this siding until all is ready.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I can't do too much to the layout since there is another Op Session coming up in less than week, so I decided to try again at backdrops and finishing the river.

I got ahead of myself one day doing scenery and I didn't paint any hills on the backdrop. The result was way too much blue sky behind the trees. I decided to atempt to fix that situation. This picture shows where I went back and painted hills behind the trees.

This picture shows where I blended the backdrop and the scenery

The Backdrop at river level showing the distant hills. You can also see where I added more gloss medium to the river. I tinted it this time. I hope not too much. It is still wet and will clear up when dry.

Here you can see the hills behind the banks on the far side of the river.
 I will add the trees later after the river dries.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

George C Brown Sawmill

I finally got around to the track at the sawmill. We have been using a short stub track that would hold about 4 cars. I have been adding log cars to the layout and knew that the longer track would be needed real soon.
Right before the session on Saturday broke a major rule and I added track to the pond and put in the switch and track for the wood chips. I wasn't able to put the tortoise machine in, so I pinned the switch in place.
Today I added the Switch machine and since it was already in the computer, I just had to tell the computer where it was connected and make sure it worked as it was supposed to.
So the sawmill has change from a generic 4 spots to 10 spots for 3 different things: logs, chips and rough lumber.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Working on the Railroad

The first picture is of Jack Brown's Barrels in Orrington. You can also see the Wood Chip track it was lengthened by a car and a half.

This picture shows the proposed arrangement of buildings in Acadia. I have also started the road that will go almost to Bucksport. There is a church and houses that are not shown.  I almost think this scene is way to spread out. We'll see. I have toyed with the idea of a siding going in here, but right now I'll go without.

The next picture shows the opening in the helix about halfway up the helix. I would rather stay away from tunnel portals, but it looks like I'll have to use at least one.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Continuing on.....

The latest Op Session is history, so it is time for construction. I have about one week to make as many improvements as I can, before I have to start cleaning up for the next session.
Today I cut out some of the installed Plywood, so that a river can be added alongside the track near Bucksport. Jack Brown Barrels moved from the old Eno Valley Railroad in Pennsylvania to Orrington, Maine. Track has be added and they are now open for business.

I also added some length to the wood chip track at White Mountain Paper (also in Orrington). I can now hold 6 cars. That is half of all that I own at this time. I am eyeing some Portland Terminal Wood Chip Hoppers though.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Software Testing

The first picture is of my current dispacthers screens. Initially I wanted the whole RR to be seen without flipping to different screens.

Over time I was starting to change my tune on that. I wanted a CTC panel machine with virtual switches that could be thrown by touching the screen. What came out of that was the two outside screens (which are staging screens became hidden, but could be called up later as needed. The two inside screens got spread out into the four screens and switches were added. Below is the result

There will still be a lot of testing before it can be implemented, because a lot of the programming changed. With any luck it will be in place for NC Railrun 2012 in October, but I'm not holding my breath. Depends on what is more important Scenery or Dispatch Panels. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Testing the fabric facia

I thought it was time to start testing out the fabric for the rest of the facia. I hot glued the clothes pins behind the facia so that I could clip on the fabric. This would allow the removal later when working around the area. It looks like I'll need the clothes pins to be closer in the corners, so the fabric will follow the contour better. 

I also finished installing the layout lighting LED's. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

BRWM Happenings

A lot of things have happened since the last post. The card boxes were painted and installed last week. Today I labeled all of the boxes.
I bought clear plastic sign holders for putting town maps into. Most would go up as is, but I had to cut some down to a smaller size. All of those went up without a hitch. I still have to buy a couple more to get them all complete.
During the last session there was a suggestion to change the operation of one of the buttons. I checked it out and agreed so I changed it. While I was at it I decided to connect the two new signals that I installed in Acadia while we were scenicking.
I knew I needed another fast clock, but it wasn't high on my list until  I closed off the dispatcher from the nearest clock and now he couldn't see. I immediatelt ordered the additional clock and now the dispatcher has one up close.

The two new reels of layout LED's have arrived so I expect they'll be installed this week.

I have an idea for a new train to use the seventh track in St. Albans. I though I would have another local out of Searsport that runs to the Paper Mill only. That would require an extra engine in Searsport where there isn't a lot of room. So why not run it out of Staging with a stop in Searsport to pick up paper mill cars and return to staging when complete. This should help keep Searsport yard a little cleaner. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

New card boxes.

The railroad was needing new card boxes to better reflect the way the railroad was being operated. I didn't even have boxes for two of the staging areas. I just installed all new facia. I felt it was time to build new boxes, so I wouldn't put unecessary holes in the facia. I also wanted to reduce the size of the boxes for each pocket, but at the same time I needed to increase to number of pockets at certain places. So today I spent all day making new boxes. Tomorrow I'll spend the day painting the boxes.

Card Boxes

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Scenery Near Acadia.

The track from Acadia to Searsport.

The approach to the BF Smith bridge near Acadia.

Scenery Around Searsport

Looking south toward Rockland. Lauara Chemical is on the right.

Looking at Laura Chemical. You can see the ladder for the Icing Plant to the left.

Looking at Northeast Pipe from behind Grandt Machine.

The front side of the Eno Industrial District at Searsport. Form the left: Northeast Pipe, Grandt Machine, Laura Chemical and the Icing Plant.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Work Session

Rob Westdyke working the track between Rockland and Searsport.

Ralph Northcutt ballasting the yard tracks in Searsport.

A view of some of the completed work.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Static Grass

Thanks to Steve Holzheimer's home made static grass machine we were able to add some grass around Searsport. Tomorrow will be an even bigger scenery day. I have help coming over in the morning.
You do have to ignore the blue tape for now.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Facia and Backdrop Photos

Here are the pictures from the work on the facia.

Brunswick area.

The return loops near staging.

Freeport and Wiscasset

Searsport Area.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Painting Commences

I finally was able to spread some paint today. The backdrop is  all blue and the facia is now all green. I know there are more coats to do, but what a difference it all makes.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Today I Mean It

I know I thought that the backdrop was done, buuuuut that wasn't quite right. There was an area near staging that I wasn't sure I would do and decided to go ahead and finish it. I did this today. Most of the spackling is done, but there are few that still need a little work. The facia is also done. I even went back and remounted the throttle plates. I will just need to test them to make sure I didn't screw something up.
I'm hoping that tomorrow I can sling some paint. Both the backrop and the facia. If there still needs to be some touch ups in spackling, I'll start making some new car card boxes that better match what we are doing now. Of course, I'll also be adding more throttle pockets and a few more look throughs for the hidden track.
By that time the bowls I ordered for the paster should be here and then we'll get down and dirty slinging plaster. Oh yeah, and then get cleaned up in time for the next session.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Starting to make improvements prior to Rail Run

I have been slack for a while, but it is time to start making some progress. The last couple of days I completed installing all of the facia and backdrops. All of the holes are filled and/or sanded, even ones that needed to be redone. Painting will commence soon.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Working on the Noch

With another Railrun coming up, I figure I better start doing something to the layout, so if there are any return operators from last year they will notice changes.

I want to incorporate scenery leftover from the old layout and laid some track down to incorporate a similar scene on the new layout. The cliff's in the back would all have to be modified so I took all the pieces I couls and strung them together. Of course, that left gaps in between the pieces that would have to be filled. Between the hydrocal and joint compound I was able to fill it in. The question will be can I blend it together to look good or am I wasting my time.
The scenery in the foreground has (had) a real good looking river that I wanted to save, but I think that over time it has seen better days and I'm not sure if I can refurbish it.

The new corner just past the bridge at Bucksport

NC Railrun 2012

The BRWM has been invited to be one of the operating layouts during NC RailRun 2012, This years event will have layouts stretched from Charlotte to Raleigh. You will have a choice of the Eastern or Western section to reduce drive time, or you can opt to pick from both sections, which will increase your drive times. I will be scheduled with the western Group.
The BRWM is currently slotted for Operations on Friday, October 5, 2012, from 4 PM until 8 PM.
For more information, visit the NC RailRun blog.

To register for the event, go to the Carolina Southern Division website and sign up!