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Slater Creek Railway

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  • CieloVistaRy
    replied
    The video really shows how outstanding the execution of the coal loading/dumping operation is- not to mention how well done the structures are (as usual).

    Only one thing I'd nitpick over. With all that loading/unloading, there had to be a huge amount of coal dust. Are you going to hit the structure(s) with a good deal of soot to simulate all that coal dust getting on everything?

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  • danpickard
    replied
    That build had been a pleasure to observe during its development and execution, Jeff. The video shows it very much to be a successful project (at both ends, loading and unloading), which will no doubt add some significant enthusiasm to both the rest of the layout build, and also the operating experience. The live loading aspect should give most operators a bit of an extra smile as they work through the realistic process.

    Cheers,

    Dan Pickard

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  • Michael_Hohn
    replied
    Wonderful craftsmanship!! I enjoyed the video very much.

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  • railman28
    replied
    Excellent build. Watching the video I can't tell it's a model except for the absence of people.

    Great job indeed.

    Bob

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  • TRAINS1941
    replied
    That is one beautiful model!!

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  • Coaltrain
    replied
    here are some photos I took outside, I got tired of seeing paint bottles and clutter behind the model.









    here here is the ugly back side, which actually is not all that ugly



    one of the last changes I made is the addition of metal in the bottom of the coal chutes. I figured the prototype must have had metal on the bottom to keep the boards from wearing away. I used aluminum furnace tape to cover the bottom of the chutes, then weathered with acrylics and dullcoated them to protect the finish, we'll see how long it last.



    one detail that I decided to add is the use of the ties cut from a piece of real Manns Creek ties, I am really happy i did. I glued the ties to the rails in a special jig, then spread ground goop on the roadbed, which I covered with soil I collected off the right of way of the Manns Creek in Clifftop WV.



    one other small detail is the weathering to the tops of the shed boards. when the tipple was originally constructed it had a gable roof, then they must have decided to raise the side when the trucks load, so they pulled of the boards on the end and lifted the roof. I simulated the clean area where the old boards used to be nailed.




    it is now time to move on to the next thing

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  • Coaltrain
    replied
    it is a big day indeed, the Clifftop tipple is finished (sort of, I saw one board i forgot to glue). I am almost at the end of a long journey, one that actually started way back in the 80's when I was a kid working at a local hobby shop that specialized in trains. I was just getting introduced to model railroad operations when a local guy came in to tell me about a layout he had operated on. The fellow had just come back from an out of state operating convention and told me of a layout that used live coal in the hopper cars. The drama of his description of moving heavy tonnage on a model railroad hooked me and I have pursuing the goal of loading, moving, and unloading live coal since that day. In the 80s I actually built a tipple that loaded coal into HO hopper cars, it worked will and was actually featured in the Walthers catalog. However, i built that tipple before I knew anything about real coal loading and real tipples. About that same time the hobby shop started getting in full color books on real trains (not common at the time). The owner of the store was really into these books and ordered everyone that came out. When th L&N and Clinchfield books out I saw the error of my ways.

    With my new knowledge of real coal railroads (diesels in the 70s and 80s) I changed gears to build more prototypical tipples and I actually built a rotary dumper (which I still have), but back then i did not have the skills or the tools to build anything well and the operating loaders and unloaders did not work as well as I wanted. All along I had two conditions that my live coal handling had to meet, it had to look real, and be reliable enough to be used by a guest operator with no issues. I struggled to meet both of my requirements and gave up, it was then I moved and decided to use just dummy loads and tipple like most layouts use, however the dream never died.

    In 1999 I started construction of my new fictional HO layout, it was a coal hauler based off the Interstate Railroad. The layout operated very well and it was first layout that I actually completed the scenery and held operating sessions on. I learned a lot of skills in the eight years I built it, so much so that there were areas on the new layout I wante to redo. It was during one of my research sessions that I was loaded a book called "West Virginia Narrow Gauge, the Manns Creek Ry". The friend loaded it to me so I could learn about coke loading, however what happened was that I finally found the ideal railroad to renew my pursuit of live coal handling. over the next two years I toyed with On30, designing and testing a 1:48 scale model of one of the Manns Creek's hopper cars. when I felt satisfied that it could be done I made the switch and tore out the HO layout, pretty much the day it was published in Model Railroader.

    what followed the destruction of my HO layout was another 10 year period of learning a new scale and gauge. it is one thing to research a railroad like the D&RGW, but it is another thing to research a 9 mile railroad in the middle of nowhere West Virginia. Thankfully the Internet and forums had been invented and I meet some others that shared what they knew.

    In place of the old HO layout I started what I was going to consider a test layout. at that point my wife and I were talking about a future move, which made it easier to tear out the HO layout knowing it would some day come down anyways, but I used whatever time I had left in that house to test this new scale / gauge. I designed the layout to be very simple so I could get it built fast, that way I could test some ideas and know what I wanted to do at the new house, stick with O scale narrow gauge or go back to HO. I also changed from On30 to On3 during those then years. On the test layout I got as far as building the unloading structure and 17 working coal hoppers. I also had to work hard on getting locomotives that represented the area and worked well. I never got to the point of building the loading structure before we moved.

    What had been happening during the time of the test On3 layout is that 3D printing had been invented and developed enough that it became practical to own personal printers, actually several of them even. These 3D printers could not have been better timed, given my profession as a mechanical designer, specializing in 3D design I have found ways to build parts, tools, and jigs that I could have never dreamed of.

    so hear i am, ten years after I started the journey of trying to load, haul, and unload coal, all the while making it look realistic and operated over and over with no issues. Today I finally make the other book end of my goal and finished the Clifftop strip coal tipple. all testing and tuning is done, all details added (except the one board). I loaded three hopper cars, then unloaded those same three cars. I don't have the book marks connected yet but now I know it will work and I can build with confidence.

    I made a short video of the cars being loaded and unloaded. i am very satisfied with all of it.

    https://youtu.be/CwEhGIywgCo

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  • thayer
    replied
    I agree, mechanical linkages would have been much more challenging to set up. Glad to hear the v-bends are working well for you.

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  • Coaltrain
    replied
    quote:


    Originally posted by thayer


    Did you ever consider mechanical linkages instead of using servos?


    Yes, I assumed I would be using rods and levers, but the thought of having to route 8 rods down to 8 bell cranks to 8 more rods, to 8 knobs and levers (all under the layout), then try and figure out how to be able to disconnect them for maintenance or installation was not going to be easy. The wires from the servos are so much more friendly and solved all the issues. With the new sprung rods the tipple works like a dream.

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  • thayer
    replied
    Did you ever consider mechanical linkages instead of using servos?

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  • robert_goslin
    replied
    Jeff, that's a really great structure. The weathering is especially nice.

    All that work will pay off.

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  • Coaltrain
    replied
    quote:


    Originally posted by Chris333


    Wonder what the building was across the main from this tipple.


    I don't know what it was for and I asked around and nobody has the answer yet. at first i thought it was a simple shed but if you look at the wall on the track side you can see that there is a jog in the wall.

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  • railman28
    replied
    That's great! Very impressive.

    Bob

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  • Chris333
    replied
    Amazing! Like watching photographs come to life.

    Guess the tall stacks couldn't pass through like the car shop. Wonder what the building was across the main from this tipple.

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  • Coaltrain
    replied
    i had to make a change to the gate actuator rods the other day. one issue with servos is that they need want to stop with no pressure on them, or very little. if they are held back from their stop point they constanatly vibrate from the motor tryiing to force the arm to move, which is annoying to hear and I am sure it is bad for the servo. I finally modified the rods by removing the solid brass rod and replaced then with bent spring steel music wire rods. the new rods have a "V" in them to act as a spring and it allows me to "tune" the rods to get a full range of motion. it was a big project to make the change but the tipple is much happier now.

    I also finished to roof modifications by filling in the end boards and not I can focus on the final roof details and weathering. this time I tried using fabric softener sheets for tar paper, the texture looks good and i think some weathering will help bring out more detail.

    I added some more wood details, including something that I had to guess on. There is a photo in the Manns Creek book that shows the loading process. in the photo there is a man on the platform, which seems obvious what he is doing, but then there is a man standing in the far back next to one of the chutes. in the photo you can see boards that span across from the operating platform over to the bin. it looks to me in the photo that the boards that span across the hopper cars are used to cross over from the platform to the chutes. I am wondering if the loading process was a two man operation and the man next to the chutes maybe aided in the operation somehow, maybe helping to close gates. there is also a small board nailed to the near front coal bin leg that seems to be evenly spaced from the top of a hopper car to the near coal chute, which I believe also helped a man climb up the side of a hopper car and then access the coal chute. there are not very many good photos so I just had to do my best and build something that seems to look and fit these functions.

    here you can see the boards that cross over the end of the hopper cars and the small board nailed to the front leg.



    here is how I built the "bridge" over the hopper cars.



    here is the overall tipple so far, the boards are added to the end of the roof. what is interesting about the prototype is that the roof was once a standard gable roof, then at some point in time they must have felt it would work better to raise up the roof on the receiving side, so they just lifted it up level and braced it up. you can see on the end of the coal bin shed where there were once boards nailed on and were removed when the roof was lifted.



    here is the front wall removed to show the sprung actuator rods.


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