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 Construction of the new PRR Northern Division
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Author Previous Topic: Scenery Topic Next Topic: Subroadbed, Roadbed and Track
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George D
Moderator

Premium Member


Posted - 03/20/2016 :  8:02:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mark, scenery work is like ricing a bicycle. After a 10 year layoff, it looks like you didn't forget a thing.

The bridge scene looks good. I'm looking forward to seeing it when you're done.

George



Country: USA | Posts: 14070 Go to Top of Page

tloc
Fireman



Posted - 03/20/2016 :  8:07:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great scene Mark

TomO


Enjoy the day
TomO
RailPro users Group: https://rpug.pdc.ca

Country: USA | Posts: 1396 Go to Top of Page

BN_Fan
Section Hand



Posted - 03/20/2016 :  9:03:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Looking good Mark. For the placeholder buildings, do you think you will be bashing and scratching or do you have a stash of structures waiting to see the daylight?


Country: USA | Posts: 94 Go to Top of Page

MarkF
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 03/20/2016 :  11:03:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks guys! I appreciate the comments. Yes George, it is like riding a bike. It comes back fast!

Bob, there isn't a stash of buildings waiting to be built. I am only starting to give thought to some of the scenes and associated structures, but as I move along, the ideas are coming together. Vulcon Iron is a pretty good example of this. I just started putting some of the structures I had on the layout. I began placing a few buildings there that looked like they would fit and all of the sudden the ideas began to flow. This complex will be a combination of kitbashed structures that will create a decent sized complex.


Mark

Country: USA | Posts: 13476 Go to Top of Page

MarkF
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 03/20/2016 :  11:44:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Last night was the 6th official op session on the Northern Division. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to take any pictures of this op session. All in all though, it was a pretty good session with few issues. Everything seemed to run pretty well and for the most part, we stayed on schedule. The crew is definitely getting more and more comfortable with the railroad and its associated operation.

Due to a last minute cancellation, we would be one crew member short this time around. I have come to realize that the ideal crew size is 11 operators. 10 will work but does not afford the crew members any time between runs to sit down, enjoy a snack and rest before the next assignment. 9 is too short a crew. This cancellation put us at 9 crew members. So to solve this minor problem, being the good sport I am, I volunteered to fill the gap in the crew! Normally, I assume the role of ‘Road Foreman’, keeping myself available to answer questions, do quick fixes where need be, and just enjoy seeing the railroad come to life. But this time I figured if we fell behind in the schedule, I would jump in and run some of the less interesting trains to keep us on schedule. This also gave me the opportunity to get myself involved in the thick of things. It is definitely enlightening to operate on your own railroad during an op session!

One interesting issue did surface at the end of the session though. Last night I ran mostly through freights, leaving the locals for the guys. It seemed that for each of the freights that I ran, there were too many outbound cars in the yard for each of these trains than there was room on the trains. By the end of the night, I noticed that all of the tracks in the yard for through freights were full, while inbound cars for local delivery were almost empty! Obviously I have a problem with the flow of cars coming in and out of staging.

After giving this some thought, I think part of the problem is the way I have the through freights set up. Each through freight is made up of three blocks of cars; a local block which is set out at Northumberland, and two through blocks, and of course the block picked up at Northumberland. Between sessions, these blocks rotate. As a result, each car stays in the train for three sessions before it re-enters the railroad. I’ve come to realize that this keeps cars in the through freights too long and is choking the flow of cars coming off the railroad. I plan to eliminate one of these blocks on each train. What this will do is feed more cars on the railroad for local delivery and open up space on each train for outbound cars. Hopefully, this will solve this minor glitch in my system. In the meantime, when I re-stage the railroad, I will force some of these cars by advancing the waybills and rebalancing the system.

So with the session over, it’s now time to get back to scenery!


Mark

Country: USA | Posts: 13476 Go to Top of Page

jbvb
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 03/21/2016 :  08:30:54 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I didn't make it to your layout last October, but reading your description, my thoughts: You started with a normal population of cars on your industrial spurs? Your locals picked up more of them than your through freights had room to take off-layout. Meanwhile they spotted everything the through freights brought on-layout. Yards are full of outbound cars.

Your plan would increase the usable capacity of the through freights. OK as long as your yards can handle blocks of 1/2 train. Another knob available is limiting the length of your locals. A third is longer dwell time of cars spotted at industrial spurs. This is what I've been using to manage my hard train-size limits: I put a purple paper clip on the weighbill to 'hold' enough cars to fit the limits. When I turn bills between sessions, clips on the left normally get moved to the top, top to the right, right gets removed and the bill advanced to the next move.



Country: USA | Posts: 5254 Go to Top of Page

MarkF
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 03/21/2016 :  10:50:16 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jbvb

Your plan would increase the usable capacity of the through freights. OK as long as your yards can handle blocks of 1/2 train.


Thanks for your thoughts James. To answer this concern, yes, the yard can definitely handle, and needs the additional inbound traffic.

Since this was the sixth session, my original thought was that in my original set up of the layout, perhaps things still just need to balance out. And while that may be the case to some extent, after looking at it more closely yesterday and doing some math, I've come to realize that the online portion of the railroad tends to generate more traffic to offline destinations than I have allowed for. The currently full tracks for the through freights are the result of these cars accumulating from the last couple of sessions.

So, during my re-staging of the railroad, I will first have to force some of these cars to the next step on the waybills to re-balance the railroad to some extent. Then by changing to two blocks in the through freights will generate more inbound traffic (which is what is currently light) as well as allow for more cars to be picked up, thus relieving the outbound congestion at Northumberland.

To your point about the hold cars, I use the standard 'set out, hold, pickup' rotation boxes. The flow at the industries seems ok at this point. However, I also have several interchange points around the railroad that are single spot; set out this session, pick up the next session. I'm not sure if this is contributing to the problem of not, but I'm going to try to the through freight fix first and monitor it over the next few sessions and see if things balance out before making any other changes.


Mark

Edited by - MarkF on 03/21/2016 10:51:06 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 13476 Go to Top of Page

LynnB
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 03/21/2016 :  3:38:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The painted track looks very realistic. The terrain is also looking good.


Country: Canada | Posts: 2325 Go to Top of Page

Grubes
Crew Chief



Posted - 03/21/2016 :  11:00:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mark,

Constantly amazed at your ability to manage such a large railroad. It's fun to watch it come to life and it looks great.

Dave



Country: USA | Posts: 538 Go to Top of Page

MarkF
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 03/22/2016 :  01:09:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Lynn and Dave! Lynn, I still have to go back and do a wash of rust over the rails and will post a pic of that when done. I think that will make it look even better!

Dave, I'm not sure how well I'm 'managing' the railroad. The way I find myself bouncing around from project to project, sometimes I think it's managing me!


Mark

Country: USA | Posts: 13476 Go to Top of Page

MarkF
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 04/25/2016 :  2:40:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Since the last op session, aside from the few repairs and tweaks that needed to be taken care of, I’ve resumed work on some scenery areas. I went back to the South Danville area to resume planting trees and creating a scene block between South Danville and the next town, Catawissa.

Another project I’ve continued working on is the Wilkes-Barre area. In an earlier post, I showed that most of the hardshell was installed in this area. The next step is to install a cut stone retaining wall on either side of the Wilkes-Barre Connecting Railroad line as it descends through Wilkes-Barre and enters the upper level staging yard in the adjacent room. I’ve been debating whether to cast these walls or try making them from foam. While there are some great castings out there, the cut stone that is commonly found along the PRR mainlines is kind of unique in its appearance in that the face of the wall is smoother than typically found with the cast ‘cut stone’ walls. Therefore, I decided I would try to make my own.

I’ve always enjoyed using foam as a modeling material. It is easy to work with and with little effort, can be easily manipulated to replicate various textures. Best of all, it’s cheap!

The foam I use can be found in most art supply stores, but I collect mine from the supermarket! These foam trays, or as I call them, ‘meat trays’, are commonly used to package meat and chicken products. Needless to say, you will want to clean these very well once you have opened the package (and hopefully consumed the contents). This is what these trays look like. They come in various sizes and colors, as well as thicknesses.



I first cut away the rounded edges away from the tray.



I then laid out the pattern of what I wanted to create, in this case, the cut stone. These stones are typically 18” by 36”. I first measured out courses spaced 18” apart. Using a straight edge and an xacto knife, I lightly scored lines in the foam creating the spaces between the stones. I used the knife to create very thin lines, but you can use any tool you want to create the desired effect. Just keep in mind that the foam has a ‘memory’, meaning it holds every cut or indentation on the foam.



With a little practice, you can manipulate the foam using a dull tool to create texture, or even ‘fix’ a dent or error in the foam. Here I used a pencil on its edge and ran it alone the lines to create some texture. Adding various levels of pressure to the pencil varies the appearance of texture.



The next step is to create the vertical courses. These are spaced 36’ and are of course staggered. I used a square to keep these lines straight as I moved along the foam sheet.



Once finished, you have a sheet of cut stone that looks like this. This is a finished wall section now ready for paint.



Using artist’s acrylics, I applied a coat of paint over the wall section. In this case, I applied a coat of black paint as an initial coat as these stones are typically very dark. I will apply a wash of a mortar color in the cracks, and then reapply black and then weather with some earthy colors to bring out some of the texture.



I then cut the wall sections to fit in the area. If you look closely, you can see how I also cut the stones so that the sections interlock. These sections are only laid in place at this point until I finish making all the sections.



So far I am pleased with how this is coming out. I have about 5’ of wall to make. It’s a slow process, but it’s coming along. Before I get much further, I will attach these sections, apply some ground cover and weather these sections and see how it looks.


Mark

Country: USA | Posts: 13476 Go to Top of Page

tloc
Fireman



Posted - 04/25/2016 :  4:05:44 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nicely done and good instructional.
TomO



Country: USA | Posts: 1396 Go to Top of Page

mainj
New Hire

Posted - 04/25/2016 :  7:41:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
if you are ever short of operators, keep me in mind. I now have a longer rope to find my way home.


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MarkF
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 04/25/2016 :  10:28:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Tom.

Jim! I'll put you on the list. Feel free to stop by anytime.


Mark

Country: USA | Posts: 13476 Go to Top of Page

nhguy
Fireman



Posted - 04/26/2016 :  12:28:48 AM  Show Profile  Visit nhguy's Homepage  Send nhguy a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Very good useful tutorial on using meat trays for block walls Mark. While the New Haven used quite s bit of the cut face blocks they also use the smooth faced ones in certain areas too. Looking forward to seing the finished walls in place. Bill

Bill Shanaman
New Haven RR
Hartford Division
in Colorado.

Country: USA | Posts: 4763 Go to Top of Page
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