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Author Previous Topic: Im presenting online this Saturday 1/9/2021 Topic Next Topic: R. T. HARDING MINING CO.
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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 09/30/2020 :  05:52:21 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
After a typically hot and humid summer, the fall of the year is normally full of great things to do that are often train related. That is until the pandemic hit. One by one, each was cancelled until there were only one or two left and these were so compromised, mere shadows of their former selves, they were no longer worth doing.

For those of us where "getting old" has long ago disappeared in the rearview mirror of life, there is often an inner voice. Whenever doing pleasurable things, it repeats a dour, but optimistic phrase, "This may be the final time for doing this."

This year, however, when searching the empty calendar for former things to do, the voice has changed its spiel to something quite bleak, "Last fall was the final time for doing this." To get out of this purple funk, to use an antiquated term, I spent the last few weeks distancing myself from such things, hence my sudden and steady progress to the bottom of the forum page.

There is another outdated term, "Time heals all wounds." and the sight of the unfinished layout is once again stirring creative thoughts, thereby adding a bit of joy to my seemingly moribund life...although getting my act together and actually getting something done is another matter. Nevertheless, creative thoughts are a step in the right direction.

All the best to everyone.



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Rick
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 10/02/2020 :  07:17:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dan, all the best to you.
Let us know if you get back to the layout.



Country: USA | Posts: 24210 Go to Top of Page

Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/04/2020 :  04:24:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Actually I have already started.

Due to the miniscule size of the present layout, I have standardized on the Bachmann eighteen foot freight cars for double truck equipment. However, while the larger, twenty-six foot Bachmann cars are too big to accompany the short cars running on the layout, they are the right size for stationary use as part of the vignettes at the front of the layout.

While bouts of forgetfulness tend to be the bane of being elderly, they also lead to moments of pleasant rediscovery. While pawing through more boxes, I found a long forgotten relic. Years ago, when I bought that early Bachmann On30 gondola, the one that is now the rail storage car in the MOW vignette, it seems that I also bought one of the boxcars.

When used in place of the stationary, smallish railbus in the passenger vignette, the large, hulking freight car, ostensibly sitting on an abutting team track, visually reduces the size of the station to flag stop status, especially when running the largish Bachmann passenger cars on the main line.




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Philip
Fireman



Posted - 10/04/2020 :  10:30:43 AM  Show Profile  Visit Philip's Homepage  Reply with Quote
You just described my affliction Dan.. "hence my sudden and steady progress to the bottom of the forum page". lol!

Don't give up!

Philip



Country: USA | Posts: 3430 Go to Top of Page

Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 11/26/2020 :  3:30:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Greetings to all and Happy Great Pumpkin Day!

I've been unexpectedly busy with things around the house, some of them being quite unpleasant. I figured that while I'm already down in the dumps, they can't make me any more depressed. Boy was I ever wrong! Nevertheless, I persevered and got things done. The layout is still here and I will get back to it...eventually.

Half the family lives in the western part of the state while the other half lives in the eastern part, which leaves us two OFs (old farts) hunkered down in the middle. Dinner will be a turkey and stuffing frozen entree zapped in the microwave and a can of cranberry sauce, with dessert a store bought pumpkin pie. The only thing made fresh this year is a pot of coffee. Nevertheless, everyone is still well and for that we are thankful.

Speaking of unpleasant things, tomorrow I get to spend time at the Department of Motor Vehicles getting one of them newfangled government mandated driver's licenses. Oh boy, more bureaucracy.

All the best to everyone.




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Philip
Fireman



Posted - 11/26/2020 :  11:09:38 PM  Show Profile  Visit Philip's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Glad you checked in! A new fangled license to board a airplane ?

Philip



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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 11/27/2020 :  05:36:26 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yup!


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Rick
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 11/27/2020 :  08:13:00 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A belated Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Dan.
Hope the DMV won't be too painful.



Country: USA | Posts: 24210 Go to Top of Page

Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 11/29/2020 :  5:31:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Rick,

With the pandemic they do it all by appointment only. It took me a month and a half to get an appointment, but I was in and out in about a half hour. Either way, you will have a long wait somewhere along the line. It is the nature of the beast!

With all of the local model train shows and public Christmas Gardens being cancelled, it may be a bleak holiday. I have my own downsized "shake the box" tree and trains from last year ready to go. I'm just waiting for the calendar to catch up to my anticipation.

All the best to everyone.




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friscomike
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 12/01/2020 :  05:24:02 AM  Show Profile  Visit friscomike's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Dan,

Persist!

~mike



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Philip
Fireman



Posted - 12/01/2020 :  4:54:01 PM  Show Profile  Visit Philip's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Yep... chin-up or as mom said "grit ur teeth".

Philip



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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 12/07/2020 :  08:49:12 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Back to Reality

During my recent foray through an altered space-time continuum, the layout was occasionally in my thoughts. If I added a turnout here or some track there it could be made better. However, now that reality has returned, operationally the layout is as good as it is going to get, which is actually pretty darn good.

However, creatively this success is a bit of a letdown, the end of an era so to speak, and starting over on a new layout is not feasible. Furthermore, after taking an inventory of rolling stock and structures, it seems I already have all that I need, which is also a disappointment. While this may seem like reality sucks, it is still better than where I was before.

This leaves me to face my old nemesis - scenery. In fact, this is a good thing, as my hands can no longer do the detailed stuff anymore, but I can make trees and shrubs by the shake-the-box method, quite literally, and stick them in the pink foam "earth" as if there were no tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrows, being a septuagenarian in the real world means that they are naturally limited in number and with the pandemic in full fury there may be less than that, so it is now time to bite the bullet and landscape the existing layout.

Applying painted ballast over the right-of-way on the scenic grass mat surface was done a while ago. I still think that it looks good, but as I am the village idiot when it comes to scenery, what do I know? Nevertheless, it provides a starting point for a new chapter in building an old man's layout.




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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 12/10/2020 :  07:52:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The story behind the only bridge on the layout.

The real reasons for having a wide, pony thru truss bridge located on a curve is it was a satisfying and a workable as well as a creative N to On30 bash and I like the looks of it. The theoretical reasons are as follows.

The original industrial line, now the stage for the front of the layout vignettes, stopped short of a low rocky ridge protruding from the ground near the site of the factory. When the line was extended, a quirk of this local feature became an impediment. It wasn't a chasm, crevasse or abyss that was astride the bright-of-way, it was a cleft in the ridge from which water issued forth and flowed away in a scene that exists a thousand times over on the real Piedmont Plateau.

The lane and a half wide bridge was itself salvaged from a county road improvement project. As a result, the bridge site on the railroad had to accommodate the recycled bridge instead of being the other way around.

To keep the railroad grade level, the ridge had to be pierced with the bottom of the bridge almost even with the top of the water in the cleft. Being spring fed, the level only varies by a couple of inches. As the ridge was the ubiquitous native limestone, this was easy work for the quarrymen mining the ganister rock, with the extracted limestone used elsewhere on the railroad.

To recreate the ridge, a couple of packs of Woodland Scenics Ready Rocks that are made to be glued to a flat surface were used. The green stuff on the grass mat layout surface can be easily scraped off from the flexible vinyl backing after being moistened with alcohol, leaving an outline of a shallow streambed underneath the surface mounted bridge and extending on either side. When natural looking clumps of readymade cattails are added around the water's edge, it becomes a scenically enhanced throwback to my earlier tinplate days.

As the depth of the layout streambed is literally paper thin, the available "water kits" might be too thick for this installation. Instead, some light blue acrylic paint was applied to the streambed in an attempt to capture the color of the reflected sky, but the jury is still out on that. I suppose that the remaining vinyl backing can be removed and the underlying pink foam dredged to make a deeper and rougher streambed, but this sounds like a lot of work for just a couple of square inches of partially hidden scenery.

After a career of working with very tight tolerances and failsafe scenarios, which is occasionally replicated in my layout work to date, my considering and then employing some comparatively slapdash methods in applying scenery, is actually quite exhilarating. It is occurring, as they say, at the right point in my life.



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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 12/16/2020 :  05:47:36 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The date on the calendar and my ambition finally coincided and this years iteration of last years Christmas tree and garden are now up. As planned, they look very much the same and a new world speed record was set - thirty minutes start to finish.

It used to take me that long just to horse the bare tree (we use an artificial one) and boxes of decorations down from the freezing cold attic and several hours more putting it all together, after I thawed out.

With the new tree and garden already assembled and decorated and kept in the heated storage room, all I had to do was open a door and move two plastic tubs into the next room. Life is good!

With the local dollar store selling 100 watt equivalent LED light bulbs (14 watts actual consumption) for a buck each, there is now a spotlight on the tree and garden. If the spotlight works out, maybe I can arrange one or two over the layout?

Gentlemen and ladies, if any are present, to all a Happy Holidays.

Speaking of presents...Christmas is a comin' and my goose is getting cooked, so its off to do some shopping. It will be another "gift card" Christmas, but with the pandemic, they may not be handed out until next Easter.

All the best to everyone and stay well.



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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 12/21/2020 :  07:35:17 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
By George, I Think He's Got It!

For a while, I have been ruminating on adding a turnout and some track to the existing layout, which is, operationally, already first-rate. As things recently turned out, this continuous cranial itch was finally scratched when space and purpose were created as a part of adding scenery to the layout.

When I started building the layout, I was planning to use an Atlas code 83 snap track turnout for the factory spur, but after I realized how bad they were when used with DCC, I changed it out for a trouble-free Peco turnout.

While developing sight lines for adding scenery, the non-operating, disconnected display track at the front of the layout did not seem to be all that railroad like. To address this situation and to stop the ruminating, the old snap track turnout was installed in the middle of the display track at the road crossing, thereby adding a short spur to the layout. It runs to the left at an angle behind the vignettes, toward the low rocky ridge. When the useful and unique, track cleaning snowplow bash is parked at the far end of this spur, the display track begins to have a prototypical railroad look, cluttered but functional.

The repair shed and the passenger station remain in their original roles as changeable vignettes on the far left end of the display track. However, the former MOW vignette became a permanent part of the layout at the center of the display track, after juggling around some of its details, thus providing a home base for the maintenance railcar bash and its trailer.

Another rolling stock bash that is worthy of full time display is the railbus and trailer. When not a part of the station vignette, it shares this duty with Bachmann twenty-six foot freight cars, it is parked beyond the right side of the road crossing, close to the factory, making the display track railroad like from one end to the other.



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