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Author Previous Topic: HTRR - Chapter 2 Topic Next Topic: NMRA AP Civil Eng.Certificate  Support Thread
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Posted - 10/15/2011 :  2:28:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit nhguy's Homepage  Send nhguy a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Awe C'mon now Rick. THIS is probably why he hasn't said anything. He's been a busy man. I hate benchwork myself, but that is what you have to do to get the thing up an running. Mark, I agree with Vagel. Get some limited op sessions to see if it's going to work.

Bill Shanaman
New Haven RR
Hartford Division
in Colorado.

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Premium Member

Posted - 10/15/2011 :  4:10:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Rick, I do enjoy your sense of humor! 'Area 51'?

Well, as I said earlier, and as Rick pointed out, my 'funk' is still in full swing. But, it was great to have Rick down last night to hear some positive comments. Who knows - maybe this will kick start the modeling juices.

As Rick knows from our conversation, I detest benchwork!!! Period! But, it's almost done, so I keep pushing. A little here and a little there, but it's all progress.

Vagel and Bill; I couldn't agree with you more. I want to get it operating as soon as possible, but I need track first! The lower level main line is in, but that's about it. My immediate focus is to get the two branch lines in on the upper level, begin cutting in some industries and then operate so we can work out the kinks. But, before I can do that, I have to finish benchwork, install backdrops and install roadbed - three steps I do NOT enjoy. By Rick seems determined to get my rear is gear and make progress once again.

By the way, that little shed in the last two pictures is the work of Mr. Harsco himself. He was in a futzing mood one night and, as he would put it, 'cobbled' this thing together. My first new structure on the Northern Division! Thanks Rick!


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Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/18/2011 :  12:48:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great update Mark, I mean Rick. Love the humor. Don't know what it's going to take to get Mark going again. By the way, were those pics taken with your Verizon IPhone? They look great!!!

When's the next worknight?


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Premium Member

Posted - 10/18/2011 :  6:36:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the photo update Rick. Mark, I hope you can get past the funk. Nothing nicer than woking on the railroad!!

Look out for #1, but don't step in #2!

Andy Keeney
Dewitt, MI

Edited by - hunter48820 on 10/18/2011 6:37:08 PM

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Posted - 10/19/2011 :  12:18:21 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Don't worry guys, I'll be back. With fall here now and the weather starting to turn, the basement atmosphere is becoming more and more appealing!


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Tim Kerkhoff

Posted - 10/19/2011 :  7:50:21 PM  Show Profile  Send Tim Kerkhoff a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
I understand Mark about a lull but that is no excuse, get to work.

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Posted - 10/20/2011 :  05:26:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'll walk over and with carpentry tools and threaten to start building something. That will get him going!

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Posted - 10/20/2011 :  07:36:22 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Something tells me that will fall arriving and with the nudging both here and from the south Jersey guys, you will get back at it. With a layout your size, you can't afford too many multi-month lulls.


Modeling the railroads of the Jersey Highlands in HO and the logging railroads of Pennsylvania in HOn3

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Posted - 10/20/2011 :  10:17:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm sure your right Bruce! Can't explain it. I always thought that as we got older, the kids grew up and our lives settled down, we would have more free time, right? Apparently that's not the case! I seem to have less and less free time. Now it's all I can do to just keep up with all the darn leaves falling on the yard!


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Crew Chief

Posted - 11/12/2011 :  11:31:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Fully understand your funk; been there, done that. But what's worse, benchwork or continuous hazing from Harsco and Steam Nut?

Keep at it,

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Posted - 11/12/2011 :  11:53:13 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm on the verge of giving up; having tried every psychological trick known to man, including every single one he used on me, Mark's funk seems firmly entrenched....time to roll out the "nuclear option"....

Steam: let's offer to take it all down for him and sell everything! LOL

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Premium Member

Posted - 11/13/2011 :  10:33:52 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dave, your right - the hazing from SteamNut and Harsco is tough to deal with!

Steam: let's offer to take it all down for him and sell everything! LOL

The dumpsters been ordered!

Seriously, now that the weather is finally turning and the days getting shorter, I feel the 'funk' finally going away and the juices are starting to flow. So maybe, just maybe...


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Vagel Keller
Crew Chief

Posted - 11/15/2011 :  12:50:36 AM  Show Profile  Visit Vagel Keller's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by MarkF

\Seriously, now that the weather is finally turning and the days getting shorter, I feel the 'funk' finally going away and the juices are starting to flow. So maybe, just maybe...

Glad to hear it, Mark!

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Posted - 02/05/2012 :  12:52:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The ‘funk’ is officially over! Wow, it has been a while! Rick and Bruce have been insisting I need to update this thread, so here it is. Not much modeling to show... yet, but I'm getting to that point!

Over the past few months I have, as Harsco would say, ‘futzed’ around a little here and a little there, but just couldn’t seem to get motivated to get back into the swing of things. To be honest, this phase of layout construction is my least favorite. But hopefully this last push will put this all behind me and I can get into what I really enjoy – modeling and operating! So let’s get caught up.

The crew was over not once, but twice this past week and we made a lot of progress. My goal was to get all of the benchwork finished and to install the lighting on the lower level. The layout lighting is important for several reasons. First, I plan to install the drop ceiling in the next few weeks. That will officially finish the room preparation part of the project, but at the same time cover up the only ceiling lights in the room. In order to achieve the diorama effect I am striving for, when finished, the only room lighting will come from the layout itself so it important to get that installed now. Secondly, I wanted to install the lighting for the lower level before I installed the roadbed on the upper level as it makes it easier to install while the fixtures and wires are accessible from above. Now that I’m working on the lighting, I am REALLY glad I made this decision!

So Wednesday night the crew showed up. While Bruce got reacquainted with his old friend the helix, Matt got to work prepping the light sockets for installation. In the meantime, Rick and I jumped into installing the last bit of benchwork for the future Pennsylvania Power and Light facility at the end of the Selinsgrove Branch...

... as well as the upper level section which is an extension of the Wilkes-Barre industrial track area.

In the meantime, Bruce jumped right in where he left off with the helix. He is determined to get this thing done within the next week or two! He assembled the next layer (only one more to go after this one!) and Rick and I jumped in to hand it over to him for installation.

By the end of this session, Bruce had finished installing this next layer of the helix, the new benchwork was installed, Matt had finished prepping all 160 light sockets and we had a good plan of attack going forward.

We had another work session last night. Rick and Bruce made it over again and Bruce made his way to his corner again. I will be indebted to this man for a long time! As he inspected the helix, he realized that over the past several months, some of the sections had warped! My recommendation for anyone installing a helix, use cabinet grade ¾” plywood! I used ½” plywood and it has given us issues. So, Bruce’s first project was to reinforce the sections that had warped and get things back into alignment. Fortunately, it wasn’t too bad, but it did require some brut force on some of the sections! Here are Bruce and I installing support blocks on a lower level section. He is on top lifting the section back into place while I install the block. Not a pretty site, but once we were done, everything was solid and back in alignment!

While Bruce and I were becoming ‘unusually close friends’ in this close space, Rick was busy at the other end of the room assembling the light sockets for installation. Here, Rick is screwing the sockets to blocks of wood using a ½” conduit clamp. These blocks of wood will in turn be screwed to the benchwork.

Between helping Bruce with the helix, I was busy running the lighting buss around the upper level benchwork for lower level lighting. I had previously installed the circuits (2 20 amp circuits; one for the lower level and one for the upper level), so all I had to do at this point was run the buss and tie it in the existing circuits.

After installing the buss, I began installing the sockets themselves. This turned out to be extremely easy and went fairly fast. I spaced the sockets every 24” and used suitcase connectors to connect them to the buss. Once I got a decent length installed, we had to have a ‘lighting ceremony’ and needless to say, I am extremely pleased with the results. This is a shot looking down one wall that shows the sockets installed. The picture is a little deceptive, but the lighting is very evenly distributed along the layout.

Below is a closeup of a typical installation. Here you can see the socket and how it is clamped to the block of wood which is in turn screwed to the benchwork. For details on the lighting that we used and why we used it, see page 11 in Matt’s thread at http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=26375. But proper credit needs to go to Cliff Powers and his terrific web site, which is where I originally got the idea to use CFL’s for layout lighting.

So, by the end of the night, Rick had finished prepping 100 light sockets, Bruce has finished installation and trackwork of the next level of the helix (only one more level to go) and I had installed about 2/3 of the lights around the lower level of the layout. One more big push and we will be ready to install roadbed on the upper level! Our next big group project will be the installation of the dropped ceiling which I hope to do within the next few weeks.

It feels good to finally be back into it. And it’s great to have such dedicated and good friends to push you along! Without their help, there is no way I would be even close to where I am with this thing!


Edited by - MarkF on 02/05/2012 12:56:14 PM

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Crew Chief

Premium Member

Posted - 02/05/2012 :  1:22:49 PM  Show Profile  Visit dlwrailfan1's Homepage  Reply with Quote

Congratulations on the progress and the photo construction story. That is 160 bulbs.

Did you have music at the lighting ceremony, say "You light up my life".

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