Saturday, January 23, 2010

South Fork Viaduct

I worked this week on the Winston Salem Southbound's South Fork Viaduct. Although not exactly to scale, and the ground is around it is really mostly grassy, I am pretty happy with it so far.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Added Yard

Got a good bit accomplished this week. I finished up the small "yard" I added on the HPT&D. It's for storage of the WSS/HPT&D turns. Found out as we had Ops sessions that there wasn't enough room. If you want to find the holes in your layout plan, just have a couple of Ops sessions. That'll do it.

I also pulled out the turnouts on 2 back to back passing sidings making it 1 long one. Stupid idea from the beginning. While I was there, I finished some of the wooded area.

I was cleaning up from the yard addition on the upper level and went ahead and added some scenery on the lower level below it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

NC NScale Rail Run

I've been asked to participate in the first ever NScale only NC Rail Run. Ok, so what's a Rail Run. It a whole weekend of Ops sessions back to back. In the past, it has included both N and HO. Michael Pennie had the bright idea to attempt using only NScale layouts and is putting the whole thing together.

The layouts for this event are:
Michael Pennie's Penn Central
Scott Teague's NS Pocahontas Division
Kevin Beck's Central Carolina Southbound
Marcus Neubacher's Charleston, Roanoke & Eastern
Dave Koss' Atlantic Coast Line Spartanburg Division

Mike's Penn Central was in Great Model Railroads 2007, and Scott was on the cover of NScale and also NScale Railroading.

It may make for a long post, but I wanted to include the layout descriptions.

Michael Pennie's Penn Central
It's June, 1970, and business is booming. The Penn Central railroad, desperate for a way to bypass the clogged Northeast corridor, has merged it's 97% owned Lehigh Valley into the fold.

Among other things, this has resulted in the newly formed Lehigh and Delaware division of the Penn Central Railroad. It's a mix of Penn Central and Lehigh Valley tracks, running Northwest from Philadelphia, PA to Buffalo, NY.

Integration is just starting, but several high priority PC trains are already running on ex LV tracks.

However, most trains, both PC and LV, are still running as they have in the past. The Central Railroad of New Jersey and the Lehigh and Hudson River still have track rights over much of the LV mainline. There is still a fair amount of CNJ traffic.

The layout is an N scale layout, more or less filling an irregularly shaped basement about 1100 square feet in size. It is complete as to track and wiring. Scenery is about 80% done. It is a single level design, with no duck-unders. The layout is point to point, with staging yards at each end.

The longest mainline run is about 10 miles, but only a few trains make the whole run. About 1/3 of the mainline is single track, with the rest double track.

Two new branch lines are in process, one being the Hazleton coal branch and the other being the Easton & Northern branch, which handles general merchandise traffic. Both branches are about 2 miles long.

Scott Teague's NS Pocahontas
The Norfolk Southern Pocahontas division fills a basement space of 17 ½’ by 42 ‘, and has its track and scenery complete.

Based in the mountains of West Virginia, there is also lots of coal traffic. If locals are your interest, the railroad has plenty of these as well. Scott has taken a freelance approach to the area, modeling the scenery and general feel of the area, but adding industries as needed to increase operating interest.

The lower level is modern class 1 railroading, with plenty of coal, auto rack and piggyback traffic. The upper level is an extensive coal branch just over 6 miles long. Many people spend an entire operating sessions on the branch!

On the Pocahontas division, it’s always today. Scott tries to keep the locomotives and rolling stock up to date. As the Norfolk Southern retires or adds equipment, so does Scott.

Digitrax DCC – radio or plug in. Magnetic dispatcher panel. FRS radio. Waybill on car.

For more information on this layout, see the March – April 2006 issue of N scale Railroading or Great Model Railroads 2004.

Kevin Beck's CCSB
The N-Scale Central Carolina Southbound (CCSB) is 3 railroads on 2 layouts in 1 building. The overall size is 18' x 48' with separate Dispatcher and Trainmaster's office. Over 900' of track work has been laid and ballasted with scenery about 50% completed. Controls are Digitrax with Radio, IR and wired jacks. The 200+ turnouts are controlled locally by ground throws with slow-motion machines on hard to reach spots and twin coils in the Spencer Hump Yard. Track control is by verbal warrant with FRS radio and operators must be familiar with changing channels on the fly.

An around the walls point-to-point nolix represents the Norfolk Southern from Danville, VA to Charlotte, NC with staging yards at both ends. Set as the modern era, about 1/3 of the schedule are thru trains of intermodals, auto racks and Roadrailers. Another 1/3 are the mid-layout crew changes at Linwood Yard and inbounds to Linwood. There are a number of special trains: CSX reroutes, a steam excursion, a high and wide, and several heritage trains.

The 5 NS locals are switched with 4-cycle waybills and all pass thru the working hump yard in Linwood. The 27 foot long yard includes a 4 track Receiving Yard, 4 track Forwarding Yard, 8 track Class Yard, and 3 track Cleanout Yard.

The Yard crew must hump inbound/outbound locals, oversee crew changes and prepare outbound locals and returns to staging. Dispatchers are taxed with navigating 3 areas of single track as does the current NS.

A new addition adds the NS M-Line from High Point to Asheboro, and another adds the Thomasville Beltway.

The Winston Salem Southbound (WSS) and the High Point, Thomasville and Denton (HPT&D) are represented on a completely independent double decked island. A 5-turn enclosed helix carries the track to the upper level with CCD camera monitoring the loops. Here, operators enjoy dark territory as they run one of the 2 locals or 2 interchange trains own their own. All WSS/HPT&D cars are controlled by 4-cycle waybills.

Marcus Neubacher's CR&E
The Charleston, Roanoke & Eastern Railway is an operations oriented N Scale model railroad depicting a fictitious railroad line between Charleston, WV, and Danville, VA.

The concept of the CR&E is that of a coal hauling bridge route connecting the midwest and the southeast.

Drawing influences from actual railroads such as the Clinchfield, the Southern Railway, and the Norfolk & Western, the railroad has developed its own operating character. Model railroad influences include W. Allen McClelland’s Virginian & Ohio, Tony Koester’s Allegheny Midland, and Eric Brooman’s Utah Belt, among others.

The railroad is operated by Norfolk Southern as their CR&E Division. Despite efforts by NS to merge the CR&E into its neighboring Pocahontas and Virginia Divisions, the railroad retains just a bit of its former identity by still being operated as a separate division.

The modeled portion of the CR&E represents the railroad between Lewisburg, WV, and Roanoke, VA.

This is the west end of the railroad’s former Ridge Division, now a portion of NS’s Lewisburg-Dundee District of the CR&E Division.

The CR&E is a double-deck N Scale model railroad occupying a 16X16 foot room. The railroad is an around-the-walls linear design with a center L-shaped peninsula that connects the two levels of the railroad.

The CR&E’s route runs from Charleston, WV, to Danville, VA, via Roanoke, VA. The modeled portion represents the railroad between Lewisburg, WV, and Roanoke, VA.

Three staging yards, plus several other staging tracks on branch lines, represent connections to the outside world.

The West Yard at Lewisburg is the staging yard for traffic to and from Charleston and other points west. The Roanoke staging yard represents eastern NS destinations such as Roanoke, Hagerstown, and Linwood. The Salem staging yard is on CSX’s route the runs parallel to a portion of the CR&E and represents CSX destinations south of Salem on friend Bruce Faulkner’s CSX Shenandoah Division.

A classification yard is located at Lewisburg, the west end of the modeled portion of the railroad.The railroad also features several industries for local switching.

The railroad is single track with passing sidings located at Lewisburg (two main tracks), Glace, Paint Bank, New Castle, and Abbott.

This is the second version of the CR&E, with construction of Phase 1 beginning in early 2009. There is plenty of operating to be done, but no scenery yet.

Digitrax DCC. FRS radio with verbal block authority. Car cards. Fast clock.

Dave Koss' ACL Spartanburg
N-scale layout based on a semi - fictitious route between Wilmington, NC and Spartanburg, SC. At Spartanburg, the railroad interchanges with the Clinchfield which runs north into Virginia/Kentucky.

Layout is a classic point to point with one terminal set at Wilmington and the other terminal at Spartanburg. Track runs through a number of small towns with small sidings and lots of switching. A small classification yard is located at Laurinburg.

Stations along the line include (running east to west): Wilmington, Clarkton (Pulpwood), Pembroke (Auto parts), Laurinburg, Hamlet (Scrap metal/feed stock), Rockingham (Propane/lumber), Wadesboro (Grain), Monroe (furniture), Rock Hill (Gravel/stone), Spartanburg East, Spartanburg, Clinchfield Subdivision, Spartanburg, Spartanburg North

Spruce Pine (Lumber), Kingsport (cement), St. Paul’s (coal)

Layout is under construction with essentially all of the track work completed and trains running. The control system is DCC (Digitrax) radio throttles. Track system is Atlas Code 55 sectional track.

Main line run is approximately 125 ft with over 70 turnouts and 16 sidings. The railroad operates to move freight from the Midwest and South (via Spartanburg) to the port at Wilmington, NC and to move merchandise from outside the US to Atlanta, GA and Cincinnati, OH. Industries along the line include grain/tobacco, furniture, forest products, and auto parts. Coal from Kentucky and Virginia arrives at Spartanburg via the Clinchfield to be transported to Wilmington for export.

Jan 2010 Ops Session

Had our bi-monthly Ops Session with the largest crowd yet, 19. We ran 51 trains with a minimal number of mechanical problems. Cleaning wheels on the locos needs to be done every 6 months.

Right after I got everything restaged, I started on some rework on the WSS/HPT&D island. (See related post).

I think the high for the day was 33. Around Christmas it was obvious that it would be cold and there needed to be heat in the Dispatcher's Office. We had a 20,000 BTU heater that was used in the basement and I thought it would be sufficient. Because the ceiling was open to the 2nd floor, all the heat just went straight up.

I had just one week to get a ceiling in the office. So, after some insulation I pondered what I could put up quickly and by myself. The solution was to use the 3/16" primed masonite like was used on the skyboards in the layout room.

After it was in, there was still some cold coming up thru the floor, so I added a solid OSB floor to insulate it. Some carpet later should make it even more comfortable.

The heater was able to warm the least until the propane ran out. I had bought a spare 40 lb cylinder, but a mistake in filling it had rendered it useless. It was only later that I learned that I could hook it up to the grill for a couple of hours to burn off the nitrogen still in the tank.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Nicole Miller Art Photos

Nicole has been attending my last few Ops Sessions and spend most of her time taking thousands of pictures... no really, thousands. She goes home and add details like sky and sunshine and birds, etc. These are a couple examples of her artwork. I say artwork because they are more than just pictures.