Railroad Line Forums
Railroad Line Forums
Save Password

Forgot Password?
  Home   Forums   Events Calendar   Sponsors   Support the RRLine   Guestbook   FAQ     Register
Active Topics | Active Polls | Resources | Members | Online Users | Live Chat | Avatar Legend | Search | Statistics
Photo Album | File Lister | File Library
[ Active Members: 3 | Anonymous Members: 0 | Guests: 94 ]  [ Total: 97 ]  [ Newest Member: dtrocket ]
 All Forums
 Model Railroad Forums
 The On30 Line
 An Old Man Contemplates an Old Man's Layout

Note: You must be registered in order to post a reply.
To register, click here. Registration is FREE!

 Posting Form
Format Mode:
Format: BoldItalicizedUnderlineStrikethrough Align LeftCenteredAlign Right Horizontal Rule Insert HyperlinkInsert EmailInsert Image Insert CodeInsert QuoteInsert List Spell Checker
Callouts: Insert Speech Icon: duh! Insert Speech Icon: oops! Insert Speech Icon: sigh! Insert Speech Icon: ugh! Insert Speech Icon: wow! Insert Speech Icon: yeah! Insert Speech Icon: ok! Insert Speech Icon: yes! Insert Speech Icon: no!
Message Icon:              

Alien_125 [:-alien] Angel_125 [:-angel] Angry [:(!] Apple_125 [:-apple]
Approve [^] Ashamed_125 [:-ashamed] Banghead_125 [:-banghead] Baseball_125 [:-baseball]
Basketball_125 [:-basketball] Batman_125 [:-batman] Big Smile [:D] Bigeyes_125 [:-bigeyes]
Bigeyes2_125 [:-bigeyes2] Bigmouth_125 [:-bigmouth] Black Eye [B)] Blindfold_125 [:-blindfold]
Blush [:I] Boggled_125 [:-boggled] Boring_125 [:-boring] Bouncy_125 [:-bouncy]
Brokenheart_125 [:-brokenheart] Bulb_125 [:-bulb] Bunny_125 [:-bunny] Captain_125 [:-captain]
Censored_125 [:-censored] Chef_125 [:-chef] Clock_125 [:-clock] clover_125 [:-clover]
Clown [:o)] clown_125 [:-clown] Cold_125 [:-cold] Cool [8D]
Cowboy_125 [:-cowboy] Crazy_125 [:-crazy] Cry_125 [:-cry] Cyclops_125 [:-cyclops]
Dead [xx(] Devil_125 [:-devil] Disapprove [V] Disguise_125 [:-disguise]
Dog_125 [:-dog] Doggy_125 [:-doggy] Dopey_125 [:-dopey] Drool_125 [:-drool]
Drunk_125 [:-drunk] Dunce_125 [:-dunce] Eight Ball [8] Evil [}:)]
Eyebrows_125 [:-eyebrows] Fight_125 [:-fight] Football_125 [:-football] Ghost_125 [:-ghost]
Glasses_125 [:-glasses] Gnasher_125 [:-gnasher] Goldfish_125 [:-goldfish] Golf_125 [:-golf]
Graduate_125 [:-graduate] Grumpy_125 [:-grumpy] Headache_125 [:-headache] Headphones_125 [:-headphones]
Hearts_125 [:-hearts] Hockey_125 [:-hockey] Hot_125 [:-hot] Hypnotized_125 [:-hypnotized]
Idea_125 [:-idea] Indifferent_125 [:-indifferent] Irked_125 [:-irked] Jester_125 [:-jester]
Jump_125 [:-jump] Jump2_125 [:-jump2] jumprefect_125 [:-jumprefect] King_125 [:-king]
Kisses [:X] Kitty_125 [:-kitty] Knockout_125 [:-knockout] Love_125 [:-love]
Magnify_125 [:-magnify] Masked_125 [:-masked] Mean_125 [:-mean] Mischievous_125 [:-mischievous]
Mohawk_125 [:-mohawk] Moptop_125 [:-moptop] Mouse_125 [:-mouse] Mummy_125 [:-mummy]
Nonono_125 [:-nonono] Ouch_125 [:-ouch] Paperbag_125 [:-paperbag] Party_125 [:-party]
Piggy_125 [:-piggy] Pirate_125 [:-pirate] Propeller_125 [:-propeller] Psst_125 [:-psst]
Pumpkin_125 [:-pumpkin] Question [?] Sad [:(] Scared_125 [:-scared]
Shades_125 [:-shades] Shake_125 [:-shake] Shock [:O] Shy [8)]
Sick_125 [:-sick] Sing_125 [:-sing] Skull_125 [:-skull] Slaphappy_125 [:-slaphappy]
Sleep_125 [:-sleep] Sleepy [|)] Slug_125 [:-slug] Sly_125 [:-sly]
Smgreen_125 [:-smile_green] Smile [:)] Smirk_125 [:-smirk] Snooty_125 [:-snooty]
Snorkel_125 [:-snorkel] soccer_125 [:-soccer] Sonar_125 [:-sonar] Sour_125 [:-sour]
Spin_125 [:-spin] Splat_125 [:-splat] Star_125 [:-star] Tapedshut_125 [:-tophat]
Tapedshut_125 [:-taped] Thumbdn_125 [:-thumbd] Thumbup_125 [:-thumbu] Tiger_125 [:-tiger]
Timebomb_125 [:-timebm] Toast_125 [:-toast] Tongue [:P] Tongue_125 [:-tong2]
Tophat_125 [:-tophat] Turtle_125 [:-turtle] Vampire_125 [:-vamp] Viking_125 [:-viking]
Weeping_125 [:-weepn] Williamtell_125 [:-wiltel] Wink [;)] Witch_125 [:-witch]
Xmas_125 [;-xmas] Yawn_125 [:-yawn] Yuck_125 [:-yuck]  

   -  HTML is OFF | Forum Code is ON
   Insert a File
  Check here to include your profile signature.
Check here to subscribe to this topic.

T O P I C    R E V I E W
Dan Posted - 08/09/2017 : 3:40:42 PM
Over the years, I had become complacent about the scenery streaming past the Pullman windows on the train ride of life. I hardly noticed being switched down the Old Fart Branch until the train slowed for a flag-stop station that had an unusual name. Its sign board read "Superannuate." What really got my attention was when I checked the schedule and the next station stop would be "Elderly" followed by the one at "Geriatric." For all intents and purposes, the latter will be the end of the line.

This prompted me to take a look at where I am now and where I will most likely be in the near future. I am currently living in a house with space for building a layout. However, all too soon, i will be downsized into a modest senior's apartment or, in a worst case scenario, into a care facility.

Therefore, if I am going to build a layout, I had better start now, but I do not want it to be a major project. I think "unpretentious, but fulfilling" would be an apt description. I envision a small, semi-permanent layout, one with graceful curves and prototype operations, that can easily be relocated whenever the need arises.

While dreamers of big layouts yearn for homes with suitable basements, I am hoping for a senior's apartment with a walk-in closet that can accommodate the proposed layout. If that does not work out, the layout is going to occupy prime living space.

To be ready for either situation, it should emulate a piece of furniture. Actually, a real piece of furniture, a suitable "bar height" or "pub height" table, is a layout option. However ADA compliant doorways, which are thirty-two inches wide, can limit the size of a table-top layout.

Layout height and ADA doorways are both mentioned because, as one gets older, debilitating medical conditions can occur at any time. Therefore, to compliment the interior of the new apartment, the layout should also be handicapped accessible, for the lack of a better term.

Ideally, the layout should follow most of the ADA recommendations for wheelchair use. This means that it can be operated, without assistance, from a sitting position using a seat height of nineteen inches. In addition, it should have a clear access path, thirty-six inches wide, to the operating position.

The average wheelchair eye level is forty-seven inches. According to the recommendations of the NMRA, our layouts tend to look better when viewed from near eye level, so an appropriate layout height would be about forty inches. This height also allows a comfortable forward reach from a wheelchair, thereby providing easy access to the front of the layout.

Having been around full sized trains for most of my life, the urge to build a large layout never materialized. My previous attempt to build an On30 layout was four feet wide by two feet deep, with nine inch radius curves. While the layout itself could not be considered a success, it was a learning experience and a test bed for different types of layout construction.

The layout sat on a pedestal made from the bottom three shelves of a plastic storage unit that was approximately thirty-six inches wide by eighteen inches deep. It was fitted with furniture casters for ease of moving it around. The lightweight, but sturdy pedestal proved so successful that current plans are to adapt it to the new layout.

Diminutive Davenport gas-mechanicals, manufactured by Bachmann, were the motive power on the old layout. However, work on the layout ground to a halt, literally, due to the "Great Gear Debacle." Quite frankly, Bachmann's attitude toward the problem and their products put me off the hobby for a while.

Over the years, Bachmann attempted to make amends with a new Whitcomb double truck, diesel-electric locomotive plus re-engineered versions of two of its smaller steamers; the 0-4-2 and the 2-6-0. They are all good runners and, so far, there are no reported signs of mechanical vicissitudes. While under-the-layout sound and pulse-power DC was used before, the decision was made to switch over to DCC and on-board sound for the new layout.

To accommodate the 2-6-0, which requires curves of fifteen inch radius, the size of the layout will be increased to four feet wide by three feet deep. This will require a somewhat larger pedestal, three feet wide by two feet deep. The lower shelves of a steel wire shelf unit, factory equipped with wheels, will provide an acceptable, living space substitute for the previous plastic shelf pedestal.

The heart of the new layout will be a single, two inch thick slab of FOAMULAR XPS rigid foam insulation - aka the pink stuff. An extra thickness will be glued around the edges, forming a socket that will hold the top of the pedestal. As the layout and the pedestal will need to be moved separately, the two will be held together by just the force of gravity.

Although XPS is not rated as structural, the six inches of foamboard overhanging the pedestal on each side should not pose a problem. What may be a problem is, while most foamboard glues will attach fascia boards and backdrop supports to the laminated edges of the layout, these decorative attachments will be subjected to mechanical stress when moving the layout. Therefore, a more secure mounting method needs to be devised.

The scenery will also need to be secured so the separated layout can be turned vertically to avoid running afoul of ADA doorways. With track, scenery and attachments, the layout itself will weigh about twenty-five pounds; light enough to be easily handled by an old codger and a codgette.

To facilitate moving, the layout wiring should be easily disconnected from the DCC supply mounted on the pedestal. The wiring should also be suitably modified to facilitate operating from a wheelchair. For example, a rare but annoying problem is when a locomotive enters the frog end of a turnout with the points set against it, thereby causing a short circuit that brings operations to a halt.

If the turnout motor is DCC controlled and powered from the DCC track supply, the loco must be physically moved beyond the turnout to clear the short, something that cannot always be done from a wheelchair. However, by putting the track power and the turnout controller power on separate feeds and providing a convenient means for disconnecting the track, the power can be restored to the turnout controller and the points reset. As the tracks will be electrically isolated from the DCC supply, a DC power supply can be connected and used to run the trains.

An unintended bonus for senior citizens is a part of the layout construction. If an episode of unsteadiness (you know the type - "I've fallen and I can't get up!") occurs in the presence of the layout, it may result in some serious scenery damage. However, the forgiving nature of the foam insulation and its loose mounting to a movable pedestal should minimize the damage to the senior citizen.

Speaking of unsteadiness, an unintentional quirk is also a part of the layout construction. When using the pedestal, the Rock of Gibraltar stability of a traditional layout will be replaced with the equivalent of San Andreas quaking. While initially disconcerting, the lack of rigidity will not affect layout operations.

If running trains is desired in a care facility, one must keep one's options open. Speaking from experience, a layout without a working locomotive is a diorama and a boring one at that. However, a locomotive without a layout can provide both sound and motion stimulation to an active imagination.

Perhaps a test stand thing-a-ma-jig, with roller assemblies for under the drivers, complete with scenery and a bit of backdrop, would make a minimalist layout for the above situation. One that is about fourteen inches wide and four inches deep will accommodate the 2-6-0 and its tender. In anticipating future needs, the scenic thing-a-ma-jig can be built concurrent with the layout. In the interim, it can serve as a picturesque programming track.

15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Dan Posted - 02/24/2020 : 4:05:36 PM
Layout Ballast - continued...

The ballast color needs to compliment the brown of the Atlas molded plastic ties and the subdued green color of the textured grass mat. "Coffee Bean" is a FolkArt brand acrylic paint color that was chosen. It is marketed by Plaid Enterprises of Norcross GA. It goes on fairly dark, but lightens as it dries and the following is the reason for its color selection.

Although "Brownstone" (a type of sandstone) is generally associated with extensive tracts of Edwardian Era urban building architecture, the simulated waste products of its quarrying makes a suitable choice for the layout ballast. The theoretical location of the industrial railroad is somewhere in south central PA where both brownstone and Ganister Rock, a light colored type of sandstone that was the railroad's bread and butter, were being quarried in the same or adjacent counties. Therefore, the Brownstone quarry waste for use as ballast would have been available at an advantageous price. As Ganister was often quarried by just picking up chunks of rock from mountainside outcroppings, no wastage was available for ballast use.

Woodland Scenics makes a variety of handy learning kits of which I purchased the LK954 Landscaping Kit. Among other scenery supplies, it contains small packs of seven different ground cover textures and colors, which when combined, are supposed to cover a two foot by two foot space. Each pack contains a quarter to a half a cup of material.

After the sectional track has been relaid (don't forget the new rail joiners), a dab here and a pinch there of the above material, applied to the painted on, simulated Brownstone color, will add some variety to the ballast.

Questions and comments are always welcome.

Dan Posted - 02/24/2020 : 3:06:09 PM
Simulating Ballast For The Track

Way back on Page 3 of this project (10/13/2017) I posted a dissertation on the inherent correctness of Atlas code 83 HO track for use on On30 industrial railroads. For me, ballasting layout track using the "traditional" method has been very tedious and it continues to be so.

Furthermore, in doing additional historic research, I found that applying traditional ballast would be inappropriate for the current layout. For the light loads and low speeds of a prototype industrial line, a thin layer of ballast was applied to the right-of-way, leaving the tie tops exposed along with much of their sides and ends.

As the current layout surface already has a grass mat covering, some way was needed to apply the ballast, so that it would physically stay in place amongst the constantly flexing HO sectional track sections. Here another tinplate trick comes to the aid of the current layout. With the track laid and held in place by ordinary sewing pins or tiny nails and the trains running like they should, the ends of the ties are marked on the grass mat and the center line of the track is staked out using sewing pins. The track is removed and the "ballast" is painted onto the grass mat surface using a sponge brush and acrylic craft paint. The painted ballast lines should extend out a bit beyond the tie end markings and they should vary some on either side of the track to make a natural look.

Here is another trick that goes along with the above, buy a fresh pack of Atlas HO rail joiners and as the sectional track is relaid on the painted ballast, carefully replace all of the old joiners with the new tight ones. Any joiners that are loose are not acceptable and mangling the old ones with a pair of pliers isn't going to help. New joiners will ensure good power distribution for the life of the layout

Dan Posted - 02/22/2020 : 7:01:51 PM
Fitting Guard Rails To The Layout Bridge

Based on the success of making four rail, narrow gauge yard track by fitting straight pieces of modified N-scale sectional track in between the rails of straight code 83 sectional track (page 6; 8/2/2018), a similar idea was applied to the layout bridge. For the yard track, many of the N-scale ties were removed and those remaining were wedged in between the code 83 ties, making a rigid straight track structure that is usable by both N and HO equipment.

However, the bridge is on curved sectional track and the function of the added N-scale track is not for running, but for simulating the derailment controlling guard rails often found on railroad bridges, so some adjustments were made. For starters, a six inch length of Atlas N-scale flex track was used. Twenty of the ties on the flexible tie strip were carefully cut loose, but were left still attached to the rails. The rest of the strip was removed in several chunks.

The remaining ties were evenly spread so that they fit in the spaces between the code 83 curved track ties out on the bridge. In N-scale, the flex track ties are slightly smaller than the rigid sectional track ties, so they just drop into the spaces between the HO ties, with the tension of the bent flex track rails keeping everything in place. The most tedious part was trimming and bending the N-scale rail ends into the traditional guard rail shape.

As the final location of the bridge on the layout has yet to be determined, the modified piece of N-scale flex track is temporally installed at the current bridge location. When everything is finally nailed down, literally, the modified flex track guard rails can be removed and reinstalled wherever the bridge is placed. A dab or two of ACC will make the guard rails permanent.

Dan Posted - 02/21/2020 : 1:44:28 PM
Serendipity Provided The Layout With A Two Car Passenger Train

Although it is not suitable for full time use on the current layout, the recent bash that resulted in the creation of a small passenger station of the flag stop type, got the creative juices flowing in that direction.

A while ago, I bought a Bachmann On30 passenger car at a local train show to use as a clearance car for the current layout. The price was quite cheap as it had a Thomas Kinkade paint scheme on it. Kinkade was a popular mass market artist who worked with lit up nighttime scenes, so he referred to himself as the Painter of Light.

As a result of the station bash, I took the above coach apart to investigate the possibility of repainting it. Held together with tiny screws, hidden glue joints and by other secretive means, dismantling most Bachmann On30 equipment tends to be an adventure. The underframe of the car and the simulated "interior" did not need any work, but the body and roof did. Serendipitously, the gosh awful decorative paint scheme (I am not a fan of Kinkade's work) and a layer of green paint as well as a bunch of decorative decals came right off after a soak in some isopropyl alcohol.

As things turned out, the coach body was molded in a prototypical green plastic with a dull looking finish, which did not need repainting. The roof was molded in black plastic with a gloss black finish, but it became splotchy after it was stripped, especially where the decals were, so it was repainted with flat black.

The only problem with the Kinkade cars is the clerestory window strips on the sides of the roof. As there is no easy way to repaint them green, that are now flat black to match the roof, with the original yellow tinted windows reinstalled in the openings. With this amount of success, I started looking for a Kinkade combine to go with the coach, so as to make a passenger train that would justify the temporary layout use of the bashed flag stop station.

I found a combine on eBay at about the same price that I paid for the train show coach. Apparently, although they are all models of the same passenger cars, when compared to the desirable prototype paint schemes offered by Bachmann, the weirder schemes, that were mainly marketed to be collectables, have not held their value, which is fine with me.

Disassembly of the Kinkade combine and a dip in isopropyl alcohol provided the same overall results as with the coach. With only a small investment in time and money, there is now a prototypical, two car passenger train to run around the layout, whenever the urge should strike. The current layout may be small, but it is never boring.

Dan Posted - 02/13/2020 : 05:10:15 AM
Here are some photos of the bridge temporarily positioned on the layout. It actually looks better in real life. As you can see, there is no ballast under the track. That will be the next tinplate illusion.

Questions and comments are always welcome.
Dan Posted - 02/12/2020 : 5:27:49 PM
A Little Bridge For Use As Layout Scenery

On a "typical" layout, the location of something as substantial as a bridge carrying railroad tracks over some form of abyss would be planned early on and the bridge itself would need to be a structure of some significance. On a layout for an industrial railroad line, following tinplate scenery practice, things are very different.

The layout starts out as flat as a billiard table and it stays that way with the track and any scenery items that are deemed to be appropriate applied to its surface. Furthermore, in the prototype world, it doesn't take much of a bridge to support a narrow gauge train and in the modeling world, it takes even less of a bridge to span an imaginary scenic detail.

For industrial railroad use in On30, most of the available HO bridges are both long in length and chunky in appearance, so this surface mounted bridge started out as an Atlas 2564 thru truss in N-scale. Technically, it is a riveted Warren Truss with vertical bracing members that considerably increase its working load and its O-scale length is nineteen and a half feet. As the side trusses are short in height (four and a half feet in O-scale), this type of bridge is often referred to as a pony truss. In Edwardian times, they were almost everywhere, but only a handful exist today.

The model was heavily, but easily modified to simulate the carrying of the layout track over a proposed layout feature, in this case a small stream. The center portion of the Atlas N-scale bridge, which normally secures a piece of straight track, is cut out. This modification leaves two separate side trusses with attached walkways. As the layout uses sectional track curves of fifteen inch radius and the overhang on some of the Bachmann On30 equipment borders on excessive, the side trusses and walkways will need to be adequately spaced apart to forestall clearance issues, now and in the future.

A combination of double wide and single width Evergreen styrene strips (Item No. 115, which are 0.015" thick by 0.100" wide) are used for spacers. These match the widths of the large and small rivet welt plates on the bridge's bottom chord and the sectional track ties sit directly on the tops of these spacers. As a tinplate scenic illusion, from a foot or two away, most viewers would never notice that this layout necessity isn't prototypical. In addition, the styrene spacers are thin enough (fifteen thousands of an inch) so as not to disturb the elevation of the sectional track. Thus the layout trains avoid having to abruptly ramp up and down each time they cross the bridge.

To allow adequate horizontal clearance, the bridge trusses are spaced so their outside faces are three and a quarter inches apart (thirteen scale feet). This allows the bridge to be used as a scenery item anywhere on the layout where there is curved or straight or even transitional track. However, the only part of the layout track that is currently available is the sweeping curve at the front left hand corner and that is where the modified bridge will be placed, pending the final location of the simulated stream bed.
Dan Posted - 02/07/2020 : 10:49:28 AM
Prototypicality and Plausibility

The Rio Grands Southern was populated with places that had almost magical names; Mancos, Rico, Hesperus as well as Ophir are just a few of them, plus a local landmark, the sinister sounding, reptilian referenced Lizard Head Pass. The current layout place names tend to be uninspired, but nonetheless practical. Factory, Spur and Bunker, as well as the Water Tower and the Road Crossing can be found along the line. The layout also has a sinister sounding landmark of its own, the odoriferously oriented Outhouse Curve.

The layout was started some two and a half years ago as a blank slate, part-time project. Almost all of the work, so far, has been learning to use new technologies, pink foamboard layout construction as well as DCC. In addition, a variety of operating scenarios were developed to keep the micro/mini layout from getting boring, once it has been completed.

As a keen student of history, I also did quite a bit of research to ensure the prototypicality and the plausibility of the layout details. However, while history, technology and operations are my specialties, when it comes to scale model trains, I am a scenery newbie. With a lifetime of experience with tinplate train scenery and with time now of the essence (I feel like I have aged a decade in the last few months), I will be dipping into the tinplate bag of tricks to complete the layout.

While tinplate scenery may not compliment the high standards that have been set for the rest of the layout, I do like the look of it. I especially like the way that the observer's gaze can be fooled into seeing things that are not there, especially if what is seen is coupled to a memory. At this point in my life, memories are all that I have, so I can have a bit of fun with creating what isn't there.

Questions and comments are always welcome.
Dan Posted - 02/03/2020 : 1:42:47 PM
The train show, as usual, was overwhelming, but alas, there were no bargains in used On30 equipment. I did get to inspect the new Bachmann military loco. It is a nice model, but not for me.

I did buy a copy of the 643 page epic tome, Silver San Juan, by Mallory Hope Farrell, for the pocketbook pleasing price of twenty-five dollars. When it came out in 1973, it was a masterwork on the Rio Grande Southern. Why buy it now at this late date? There are a couple of reasons.

There are still several weeks of winter left, so it has a lot of potential as a source of entertainment. Another reason for the purchase is for inspiration, as the current layout moves into its scenery phase. As the layout is not much more than the squircle of tinplate track that got everything started seventy years ago, I could use some railroad related inspiration with finishing it up.

Dan Posted - 01/30/2020 : 12:53:57 AM

The Great Scale Model Train Show returns to the Maryland State Fair Grounds this weekend (Feb 1 and 2) for their mid-winter show. It appears the weather will accommodate the festivities (rain on Saturday, but no snow).

Tons of scale, toy and tinplate dealers and the Craftsman Courtyard builders group will all be there, and a host of others.

Drop by the show, if you are in the neighborhood.

All the best to everyone,


Dan Posted - 01/20/2020 : 8:06:18 PM
Photos for flag stop station bash:

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo Photo 5

Photo 6

Dan Posted - 01/20/2020 : 7:43:20 PM
Bashing A Flag Stop Passenger Station

While many flag stop passenger stations were just simple shelters, others were beguiling Victorian confections. To forestall cabin fever in this new year, serendipity provided an easy to build, cost free bash, made from parts already on hand, that is in between the two.

For my original attempt to build an On30 layout, I bought an Atlas O-scale, #6903 Trackside Shanty & Elevated Gate Tower Kit, specifically to acquire the trackside shanty (the Elevated Gate Tower was deemed to be unusable). As the current layout has limited trackside space, there is no longer room for the shanty, so it was deposited in a box that is reserved for stuff that I intend to do something with...eventually.

A long time resident of the box was something that recently piqued my interest as potential bash bait. It was a bag of parts for the normally lofty cabin from the still unacceptable Elevated Gate Tower. However, when brought down to earth and then modified for ground level use, the structure makes a rather convincing flag stop station (Photo 1 - waving guy and his older brother are included as a size reference). In round numbers, the waiting room is nine feet wide and seven feet deep by ten feet tall.

Additional shelter is provided by the overhang of a hip roof that measures fourteen feet wide by twelve feet deep. To ensure clearance for the overhang, that station is mounted on a thin, flat plastic base that is four by three and a quarter inches. It is actually an unused roof from an old HO AHM structure kit, another former denizen of the box. The base is also the mounting for a prototypical, short wooden platform.

The major problem is, as an elevated gate tower cabin, a trap door in the floor was used for entry and exit, so there are just windows on all four sides. In addition, the horizontal, sliding window assemblies that were provided with the kit are neither as sturdy nor as detailed as I would like. As the cabin parts are injection molded plastic, some filing and sanding was required to remove the remnants of the casting sprues and to square up the corners of the structure.

Also in the aforesaid box, there was a bag of molded plastic detail parts for an old, O-scale Walthers Cornerstone kit. Among them was an outside door, complete with frame, and three appropriately sized, double hung windows (Photo 2). A portion of the front cabin wall needed to be removed to accommodate the mounting of the door and this was the most difficult part of the bash (Photo 3).

The empty spaces on either side of the replacement window casings on the front and side walls were filled with scraps of strip wood (Photo 4). To make the rear wall flat, the large window opening thereon was filled flush to the outside surface (Photo 5). When things thaw out a bit, the station will be finished with the left over contents of several old spray paint cans. To avoid hand painting the added door and windows, they are arranged to pop out of their mounting positions for spray painting separately (Photos 3 and 6). The base and the platform also come apart.

Ironically, like the trackside shanty, there is no room for the flag stop station on the current layout, so it may be returned, in its present altered form, to the box of stuff...unless serendipity should decide otherwise.

Photos are in the next posting.
Dan Posted - 01/15/2020 : 09:34:02 AM
Layout Scenery, Continued...

The scenery at the front of the factory is a flat, brick paved lot, abutting the factory loading dock. The details thereon can be changed to modify the look of the layout. Plastruct 91606 O-scale, Rough Brick patterned plastic sheets (catalog number PS-92) were selected to imitate old brick paving and it works rather well.

The brick sheets were also going to be used at the back of the factory between the foundation and the odd shaped alignment of the spur track. However, as that part of the layout cannot be seen from the normal operating position, some blacktop paving from the abandoned layout project was effectively, as well as prototypically, substituted.

The blacktop paving comes in a long roll that is three and a half inches wide. It appears to be made from common rolled roofing paper that has been split into narrow strips. The same stuff is being used at the front edge of current layout for the road crossing. As it is sold as model railroad paving, it comes with a dashed yellow stripe down the middle and a semi-shiny coloration. It will be sprayed flat black before it is permanently installed.

As a design feature of the current layout, the sharp front corners were trimmed off. While the family jewels breathe a sigh of relief whenever I get near the front of the layout, the resulting set of angles made fitting the grass mat a definite challenge. As a result, I got very close on the left side and missed by a bit on the right. As a layout auxiliary building on the front right side is to be a repair shop, it was decided to mount it on a custom fitted piece of brick paving sheet, thereby covering the minor, but obvious misalignment of the grass mat.

To fit the brick paving as well as the blacktop used at the factory rear, I picked up a pack of four by six inch index cards at the dollar store. These are very handy as they as stiff enough to remain flat, small enough to fit into tight spaces and thin enough to fit under the ends of the sectional track ties without disturbing the track alignment. Individual cards were trimmed and taped together to rough out the required shape.

When in place, an ordinary pencil can be used to trace the required shapes directly from the layout surface, thereby ensuring accuracy. A full sized template can then be cut out with an Xacto knife or a pair of scissors. If things do not turn out well, it costs next to nothing to try again, while a single sheet of the plastic brick paving will run a couple of bucks. When all is good, the template is transferred over to the brick or blacktop paving and the shape is cut out.

Questions and comments are always welcome.
Dan Posted - 01/14/2020 : 6:40:53 PM
Layout Scenery

With Christmas decorations put away for another year and the weather outside being raw and rainy (that is good as I don't have to shovel the rain), it should be a good day to work on the layout, but it turned out to be one of those Godzilla days. Nevertheless, there are a number of things that need to be addressed, as installing and wiring up the turnout indicator crossing signal forced me to deal with layout scenery.

My previous attempt at building an On30 layout fell victim to Bachmann's great gear debacle, so it never reached the point of needing scenery. However, some supplies were purchased at the time in anticipation of reaching that point and they are now being used on the current layout.

As my current layout equates to a mini-sized tinplate empire, completely flat with an oval of sectional track and a single turnout, modern variations of toy train scenery are the order of the day. To cover the bright pink foam, I used a layer of what used to be called "grass paper" and it has come a long way since the days of yore. Woodland Scenics "Ready Grass" has a vinyl backing and the firmly attached grass is available in a number of natural hues, from desert terrain tan to rain forest green. The toned down green of "summer grass" was the selected shade.

To wire the crossing signal, small sized three conductor flat wire was used. The grass mat was slit with an Xacto blade and a shallow trench that ran under the road crossing, the paved factory lot and the foundation of the factory building was excavated in the exposed pink foam, so the wiring was entirely hidden. The flasher circuit and its power supply were attached to a block of thin wood that was on hand and the assembly is held in place with a U-pin. For whatever reasons, T-pins tend to be expensive while the U ones are cheap, but they do an excellent job of securing things in place on a substructure of the pink foam.

The electronics mounting wooden block was drilled to accommodate the U-pin legs and it was positioned so that it locates the rear inside corner of the factory building, closest to the front of the layout and, therefore, it is hidden from view. Additional U-pins were also used to locate the other three inside factory corners. In this way, the factory can be lifted off of the layout in one piece, leaving the crossing wiring behind, which will eventually come in handy when the layout gets moved.

To be continued...
Dan Posted - 01/07/2020 : 09:47:09 AM
As requested, here are some photos of this years downsized Christmas garden. Over the holiday, my Windows 10 computer ingested and digested a huge upgrade, which seems to have addressed, if not fixed, a lot of photo problems, so here goes.

The major problem with the Bachmann On30 trolley is it does not come with a motorman and none seem to be available. One of the layout figures "volunteered" for the job and a small layout vehicle was transferred over to add a little drama to the road crossing scene.

All the best to everyone.
Dan Posted - 01/02/2020 : 7:08:28 PM
Hoo-Ray! The photo-posting worked!

Here is a photo of the flashing crossbuck installation on the layout.

Waving guy, all six feet, six inches of him is included as a size reference and in the background is a Bachmann On30 passenger car, badly in need of a new paint job.

Waving guy holds an old style crossbuck in his right hand. This crossbuck is actually S-scale while the lighted crossbuck is considered a tallish OO/HO one, which demonstrates a maddening cross-scale variation in layout crossing signals.

In the horse and buggy era, drivers rode tall in the saddle, so to speak, so the flashing light signal was about seven feet above the road surface.

Railroad Line Forums © 2000-19 Railroad Line Co. Go To Top Of Page
Steam was generated in 0.31 seconds. Powered By: Snitz Forums 2000