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Author Previous Topic: Louís Logging Railroad Car Barn Topic Next Topic: 55n3 Reboot - Proof of Concept
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Coaltrain
Fireman

Posted - 09/23/2013 :  08:49:37 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
this weekend was a milestone, the first train of empty hoppers traveled from the dump trestle to the site of the large mine (still need to name this new town). The new season of my life (kids working / moving out and wife out of town) left me with a lot of time this weekend, so I had a marathon track spiking weekend and got all the main track spiked and turnouts wired. I still have two sidings to lay, one to the strip coal tipple and the other to the company store. I am not happy with the company store siding so I may change it a bit. I did get the ties glued down on the strip tipple spur but, should have the rails down by the weekend.

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Here is the site of the mine, the tipple will be to the right, the "mainline" is on the left, which someday may pass through that backdrop to a future expansion.

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here is the overall town view, the track to the left goes around the company store. I am a bit worried about the company store's location making it hard to switch the small yard and strip tipple. I was thinking for moving the company store to the left of the mainline in the first photo of this post and change the company store siding to be a third yard track, and just have a earth loading dock next to it. The company store track was meant to not only service the company store but also as a siding that could be used to load or unload anything, which is why it went so far past the store. I am going to build a mock up of the store to see what it will be like before I spend time laying this track.

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another view of the strip tipple track (far back) and the company store track (front).

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here is a refresher of the track plan and you can see the area I am working, it is the left wall on the plan



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Bill Uffelman
Fireman

Posted - 09/23/2013 :  09:49:02 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What if you move the company store to the aisle side of the siding but only model the wall looking through to the track -- with maybe an inch of flooring. Some stacked crates, etc, open freight door, big windows looking out on the trackage. I used to operate on a model RR in Minneapolis that had a factory that way and it worked without issue.

Bill Uffelman
Practicing for retirement in Ocean View DE



Country: USA | Posts: 1103 Go to Top of Page

quarryman
Fireman



Posted - 09/23/2013 :  11:44:53 AM  Show Profile  Visit quarryman's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Coaltrain

the first train of empty hoppers traveled from the dump trestle to the site of the large mine (still need to name this new town).



Congratulations, Jeff, on the first train up to the mine.

I will look into Templot. It is helping you create that nice trackwork, it must be good.

"Clagwell" has the unappealing, clattery sound of a coal town in West Virginia .. and it is still available!

Mark



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Bill Uffelman
Fireman

Posted - 09/26/2013 :  8:23:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Congrats on your coal car dumping video being added to MR's on line video extra for subscribers. Well done.

Bill Uffelman
Practicing for retirement in Ocean View DE



Country: USA | Posts: 1103 Go to Top of Page

Coaltrain
Fireman

Posted - 09/30/2013 :  07:11:37 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bill Uffelman

Congrats on your coal car dumping video being added to MR's on line video extra for subscribers. Well done.

Bill Uffelman
Practicing for retirement in Ocean View DE



thanks, I heard that there is going to be a little write up about it in the Trains of Thought column as well.



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Coaltrain
Fireman

Posted - 10/03/2013 :  11:04:20 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I finished laying rail on the strip mine tipple and I put in the hard shell plaster so see how big I have for a structure. The strip tipple will be a condensed version of the tipple on the Manns Creek, mine will only load one car at a time. The siding will load 3 hoppers. there will be a dirt road carved out of the hill side that leads up to the tipple, which is where I want to have some 1930/40s-ish dump trucks displayed. I also used some boxes to represent what might be a two story company store. I am worried the company store will block the strip tipple so I am leaving the mock up in place for a while as I operate it to decide if I want to move it, so far it is not too bad. At the moment I am considering the strip tipple will be non-operating, hopper cars will be hand loaded with coal before an operating session and the tipple will get switched only once a day, however that may change so I made this section of scenery removable if I want to build in an operating loader.

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here is the normal viewing angle
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I also modified the company store track by flipping to roadbed 180 degrees to make it curve the other direction, this will give me more space to make the scenery transition down to the lower tracks. I attached the free end of the siding to the bottom of the mainline roadbed to eliminate the need for a riser, a 1x2 was added under the roadbed to keep it from sagging, this will keep it open under the track to make it easier to maintain the hidden staging turnouts, a scenery lift out will be built in the cliff side.

I started building the web of cardboard that will support the scenery that will divide the coal dump area from the mine.
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us-okrim
New Hire

Posted - 10/03/2013 :  12:08:30 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Jeff,

Congratulations on another mentioning in the November issue of Model Railroader. I was doing my quick 3min read through once I saw the new issue arrived in the mail. This basically involves flying through the pages, taking a very quick look at the stories and modeling pictures. I had to back up a page to Tony Koesterís column; my eye was only catching the picture on the page and I was already moving on but I immediately was thinking to myself Ė hang on I have seen this picture before, what is Jeffís mine tipple doing in Tonyís column. Anyway, great story. The story did not surprise me obviously since I am following your thread with great interest since the beginning. Congratulations again. One question though to this subject. Could you give a quick rundown on how it came to it you being the major part of Tonyís November column? Did Tony actually visit you at home in Minnesota?

Back to your layout. You are making great progress. You are starting to do more scenery which is great. I love the company store between the main line and the spur. The whole scene just flows better that way. I would not move it to the outside between spur and layout fascia as earlier suggested. However I cannot judge how much the store blocks the view to the mine spur back at the wall. I would really like to see a picture with you standing in it so we can see how the height of the layout affects your concerns. Your posted pictures make it look like, there is plenty of visibility of the mine.

Mirko in Milwaukee, WI



Country: USA | Posts: 19 Go to Top of Page

Coaltrain
Fireman

Posted - 10/03/2013 :  1:27:30 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by us-okrim

Jeff,

Could you give a quick rundown on how it came to it you being the major part of Tonyís November column? Did Tony actually visit you at home in Minnesota?




No, Tony has never been to my house...yet. He and I started talking via email a while back on a Yahoo Group that Jim Six had started. At the time I was still building my HO layout and he was writing a book about coal hauling. Somewhere in the conversation I needed to show an example of an idea and used a photo from my HO layout, Tony liked the photo and we started talking via email, then he asked to use the photo in his book. Then Tony wrote another book about mountain railroad modeling and asked for more photos of my layout, this was right after I tore out my HO layout, luckily I had the photos he needed but then we got on the conversation of my new O scale adventure. He seemed only slightly interested in what I was planning, I think because I said it will operate and the cars will load and unload coal. I think when someone says they are modeling narrow gauge a lot of model railroaders think of the cute and silly stuff that became popular for a while in the 60-70s, add on top of that the idea of live loads and I think he was envisioning a toy-like model railroad. A few years had gone by and he had seen my first video of the hopper car test and he sent me an email asking to see more of the layout, which I told him there was no "more layout" because I was building the hopper car fleet and working the bugs out of the system before I invest any time in building the entire layout, because if it didn't work out I may wanted to reconsider what I was doing. Later he sent an email asking for a photo because I had given him an idea for his Trains of Thought column, then he asked if MR could use the video link. I made a new video and sent them the Youtube link, I see they posted it on their website and the video has a lot of viewings already but I have not seen the article, I don't even know what he has written yet.

Through Tony I have been in contact with David Stewart, we both were featured on the same two pages in Tony's mountain railroading book, and he has visited my layout. David is from Colorado and he models a fictional O scale (standard gauge) railroad called the Appalachian and Ohio, his layout is huge and he uses live loads as well.

I am not sure MR would be interested in my new layout because it is very much off the beaten path from what they like to publish. We'll see when I get some areas finished, but it is going to be a while.



Edited by - Coaltrain on 10/03/2013 1:30:53 PM

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Sully
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 10/03/2013 :  5:08:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit Sully's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Nice progress Jeff......you are really doing Babcock Coal and Coke proud!
As for mag interest, I'd talk to Bob Brown.....he has published Manns Creek/Babcock stuff in the past and the majority of his readership is On3. Mallory probably has some unpublished Manns Creek photos to add some "punch" to an issue featuring your work on your shay and coal loading operation.
Just a thought.....
tom



Country: USA | Posts: 2668 Go to Top of Page

Coaltrain
Fireman

Posted - 10/03/2013 :  5:47:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Tom, I am considering the gazette for future articles, however I have not been much of a fan for writing formal articles, I like forum posting better. I talked to Mallory and he said his latest photos were the last of what he had.

I just got a copy of the latest MR and read through Tony's article, for the second time MR has published that my new layout is On30. I wonder if they think that because of my re-gauged Bachmann Climax looks very out of the box-ish.



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Coaltrain
Fireman

Posted - 10/08/2013 :  2:21:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
All tracks in the first mining area are now in and operational. I ran a couple test trains to see how it will be to operate. Switching was fun with a mild challenge to it, but not enough that it would get annoying after a few times. The company store track is a little shorter than I wanted but it will work better for scenery.

For a little variety I set the sidings in the mining area at slightly different elevations. both mine sidings rise just a small amount like they would a most mines, but the rise is small enough that the cars will not roll on them, it just makes a slight visual difference. the company store is very low, drops 1" from the main, it should give a nice contrast.



here is how it looks from the tracks


Next up will be the last mining area. This area is up the second switch back. At the moment I am only planning one mine to be located here but I have thought about a second small opening that will just load one car. I found a photo in a book that shows a neat small car loading dock that would be perfect for a one car a day operation, if I put it in I would make it on a siding that leaves the main line at the top of the hill by the new mine and goes back along the main line grade, only it would be level, this would provide another tailing switching move that will add a small challenge for operators. here is the area I would be moving into next. I am toying with the idea of building this area on a sheet of blue foam so I could remove it to get at the turnouts in staging. I would not consider this area removable, more like removable if I had to type of thing.


Another project that I have been working on is the conversion of my layout lighting to LEDs. While spiking the track in the mining area I found the heat from the lights to be too much to stand. I would have a constant drip of sweat falling from my face. I had the same trouble with my HO layout (small room with lots of lighting) but at the time there was no other options that seemed to work. Some of the new LED lights look really good, are dimmable, and not as expensive as they used to be. So I decided that every other week I would buy and install two LED lights until they are all converted. So far I have four LED lights installed above the mining area. I have been buying recessed ceiling light conversions (2 per pack) which I modify them for use in ceiling tiles without the need for an enclosure. The package says "good for UL and non UL listed enclosures" and I figure a ceiling tile fits the description of a "non UL enclosure". The lights draw little power and give off almost no heat. To install the lights I converted the junction box in the ceiling to an outlet and mounted a power strip to the joist. Then I cut off the light socket adaptor on the end of the LED and solder on a cheap extension chord, I cut off the female end. Then I purchased a hole cutter and cut holes in the ceiling tiles to follow the main line, put the chord through the hole, plug it into the power strip and snap the fixture in the hole. the LED fixture comes with spring steel wires that are meant to hold the fixture in existing light cans with friction but they work perfect to hold the fixture in a hole in the tile.

here is what they look like out of the box


here is the one minute conversion to a plug in chord


here they are installed in the ceiling. these lights follow the main but most will centered over the front edge of the layout to cast more light on the facing side of the train.


the last item, I acquired a few On3 items from my friend, his father passed away and he found some On3 models he had build and put away, one is a small loading crane which I can use somewhere, the other is this scratch built bridge. The bridge seems a bit fancy for a mining railroad so I am not sure I can use it, but I thought maybe I would because it might be nice for my friend to see something of his dads live on. If I use it I will have to do some staining, I think the wood color would stand out too much on my layout. the craftsmanship on the bridge is very nice.



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Frederic Testard
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 10/08/2013 :  4:43:44 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The bridge is quite nice. Once grayed it would be perfect on your layout, despite its somewhat complicate looking.


Country: France | Posts: 17652 Go to Top of Page

Coaltrain
Fireman

Posted - 10/14/2013 :  08:09:16 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
this week I decided to return to the coal unloading structure and finish up the air nozzles so I can get all the mechanics finished, then I can add the fragile details and finish the scenery in this area. The air nozzles were my idea to help push the residual coal out of the hopper cars. I tried using a motor and on offset weight to make a shaker but all it did was make a lot of noise and did not move much coal. I know real car shakers are loud but that sort of thing can get really annoying in a layout room. My thought was to run a duct in the ceiling of the unloading shed and have two air nozzles that blow down on the two locations that the coal seems to get stuck on.

I had installed the duct and the nozzles when I was building the shed so the next step was to build the air delivery system. I purchased a high quality air blower and a pressure regulator that says it can go down to 0 psi. I used silicone tubing to run from the end of the air blower up through the scenery and to the shed, the pressure will be so low that I just used friction to keep the tubing on the blower and the shed duct. I soldered a barbed nipple on the end of the blower to attach the silicone tubing. the blower was mounted to the regulator and a hose was run down to a quick disconnect mounted to a small portable air tank. I fill the air tank from my large garage compressor. To actuate the air blower I welded up a simple pull rod that wraps around the blower handle, the end of the rod was cut off at the fascia and wood screw was welded to the end so I can screw on a pull knob.









so....how does it work? well so far it was....ok. It does exactly what I wanted it to do and it is nice and quiet. It is also easy to use and the device is very solid.

here is a car without the air blow down.


and here is a car with the air blow down




I am sure this will be work good when I do some more tuning on it. The reason why I say it works only "ok" is because on the initial pull of the air knob there is a small surge of air out of the nozzle until the regulator catches it, after that initial surge it is a perfect gentle flow of air. The surge causes the coal to shoot out of the doors and some pieces hit the bracing in the hopper and bounce out. I am not sure if the location of the regulator is the issue or if I am just asking it to do something it was not designed to do. My next test will be to build a flow orifice and see if that wont smooth out the air flow.

On a side note, Milwaukee 261 was pulled out for a weekend train ride. Number 261 is stored in a shed just down the road from my work. Friday I went out to lunch with a friend and they had just backed it out and fired it up, so we stopped over for a look. Amtrak was assembling the train while we looked over the locomotive, just then a man came out of the cab and started talking to us, after a few minutes he invited us up into the cab. That was pretty awesome to be in the cab of a fired up steam locomotive, that was a first for me. Number 261 must be one of the finest restored operating steam locomotives around, the inside of that cab looked like it just rolled off the assembly line.

here is me in the engineer's seat.





Edited by - Coaltrain on 10/14/2013 08:12:13 AM

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Coaltrain
Fireman

Posted - 10/14/2013 :  09:52:36 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
here is 261 returning from Duluth Mn on the track that runs 1 block from my house.




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thtroll
Crew Chief

Supporting Member


Posted - 10/15/2013 :  10:02:22 PM  Show Profile  Visit thtroll's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Wow, 261's interior is gorgeous, your right she's just immaculate. I'm totally jealous. Great shot of you hanging out the window.

Sorry to hear of the issue with the regulator. The position of the regular shouldn't matter. I'm guessing the regulator itself might be the issue. I'd try adding some oil to the regulator, if that doesn't work, you might try a different regulator. Using the air blow down to help empty the cars ... amazing.

Great progress on the layout, very inspirational.


Cheers, Heath.

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