Saturday, 21 March 2015

Spring Layout Work Update #1

Well, I guess I can’t call it a winter layout work update since we’re now (thankfully!) into spring. Nevertheless, the layout has seen some more progress made in the last couple of weeks. Onto the photos!

CN 8023 (Athearn Genesis) sits on the turntable - OK, not strictly prototypical, but I needed something to test the trackwork with....

Our shop tracks leading to the roundhouse are loosely modelled after TH&B's facility at Chatham street in Hamilton. Hence, filling it with some TH&B/CP power seemed like a good idea for a photo op. The coaling tower is slowly being scratchbuilt to represent the one that was located on the CN at Brantford, ON. 

Some CP and TH&B power congregates on the shop tracks. TH&B #71 is an Atlas unit that Mark and I painted last year; the other engines aren't my work.
A northward-looking view showing the turntable, roundhouse, and some of the shop tracks. Sitting in the roundhouse are some of the engines in my OSR (Ontario Southland Railway) fleet. OK, I know OSR doesn't have a roundhouse, but if they did, it would probably look like this! Mark is still mad that I have more F-units that he does, even though he models the 1950's!

The Turntable

Perhaps the most exciting work that has been done recently, the turntable which had been sitting sadly by itself for the last little while has been installed at the north end of the locomotive servicing (“shop”) area. Mark did a great job of cutting the hole in the plywood and securing the turntable to the plywood. I’m not exactly sure how long it is, but Mark tells me that it will fit a CNR U-2 Northern so he’s happy. We have temporarily powered it to allow photos and some testing, but we will need to get an auto-reverser before we can actually put the ‘turn’ in turntable. Positioning the turntable also allowed Mark to lay the tracks into the roundhouse, which he has also put a lot of work into recently. I think I mentioned previously that the structure started as an Atlas kit that Mark modified from 15° spacing to 8° spacing to better line up with a turntable larger than intended for the building. This more-or-less means that our trackwork is 99% complete – the only remaining pieced are a short RIP track to be positioned next to the turntable and a coal dump track adjacent to where the coaling tower will be.

I can't remember if I mentioned this already, but we actually have two 'shop' areas - pictured above/below is the steam-servicing facility (with diesels in lieu of any active steam - I'll have to convince Mark to get out some of his steam power to show the roundhouse/steam shop tracks to full effect), and the tracks in the background with the CN diesels on them are the diesel-servicing area. Since Mark models the 1950's and I model present day, it didn't seem right having a steam locomotive in a diesel shop, or a diesel in a roundhouse, though the latter would be more plausible. Besides, the "wow factor" when entering the room will be better with two shop areas. I think I will create a subsequent post detailing our shop area.

The shell of the roundhouse is nearly complete. The close wall will be attached with magnets to make it removable for taking photos inside the building. The styrene in front of the building will serve as a concrete pad for jacking cars on the RIP track which will be located on the near-side of the roundhouse. 

Grain Elevator

One of the larger industries on the layout will be a grain elevator located near the yard on the west side of the layout. The tracks, which can hold about 10 modern grain hoppers, have been laid, painted, and ballasted. A Walthers prairie-style wooden grain elevator will be constructed along with a number of outlying Pikestuff grain bins for that ‘out in the country’ feel. Though none of the structures have been built yet, the bottles used for some of the scenery work provide a good stand-in for the overall size and feel of the complex.

CP ES44AC #8711 leads a freight down the high-line while CN 1906 switches the "grain elevator" (or at least, where it will stand). The scenery bottles are being used as a mock-up to judge the overall feel of what it will eventually look like.

CN 4775 kicks out cars in the yard while CN 1906's conductor knocks off the handbrakes. The layout has enough industries to keep at least two switch crews busy plus a road freight.

CP 8711 descends the hill while the two CN jobs work in the background.

A little more scenery work has been completed including ballasting part of the high-line as well as some more foam work between the high-line and grain elevator location. Also, some foam work was completed between the main and the yard, which should soon allow for some photos with a fully-scenicked scene. Much of the scenery work so far has been the ‘low hanging fruit’, meaning within easy reach of the aisle down the centre of the layout. Most of the rest will involve some creative thinking and a little blood, sweat and tears to move all of the storage boxes under the layout to reach the various areas for scenicking. The good news is that scenicking is one of my favourite parts of the hobby and we seem to have it down to a science in terms of the foam-paint-ground foam technique. Much of the remaining scenery work can be done in small “work blocks” wherein a lot ground can be covered in a relatively short period of time.

In addition to some more foam work, additional progress has been made of curve superelevation, track painting and ballasting. Roughly 40% of the track has been ballasted so far. The shop tracks leading to the turntable have also been ballasted with black ballast to represent cinders.

CN 4775 takes a break to allow CN 2236 off the shop track to get onto their train. Looks like they have some run-through power today!

Some of Mark's TH&B power lays over on the shop track with some of my CP power. The switcher at far right is actually on the track designated for loading ashes from the ashpit which will go beneath where TH&B 402 is sitting. 

Another shot of the shop tracks before they were ballasted.

With any luck, hopefully I will have another layout work update in about a week or two. Until then, thanks for stopping by!


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