Wednesday, December 5, 2018

We are running trains!!

December 1st was a big milestone for the North Fork & Crooked Run Railroad....we ran our first train around the logging area outer loop.  This was the first run of a train on our layout!!

Here it is!

We've tested the logging area outer loop, the logging area itself and the track around the city area.  Each area was tested independently since the control electronics have not been setup yet.  We have all the electronics mounted on a shelf and will install that this coming week.  Once the electronics are installed we will test the circuit breakers and reverse loop controllers.

We are excited to have trains running!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Working on the electronics

Norm, Aiden and I were back working on the layout this week.  Norm finished up laying track and I helped Aiden drill holes for feeder wires.

drilling 1/8" hole for feeder wire

Aiden cut wire into 12" lengths for the feeder wires.  We made a mark on the bench where 12" was so that he could stretch the wire and then cut it.  

Measuring off 12" length of wire

cutting it to length

Once we had the wires cut Aiden pushed them through the holes.  He was just the right height to see the holes from the top and the bottom of the layout.

stringing wire from the top
and pushing them up from the bottom.  He also pulled them down from the top once in the hole.

Finally, a little playtime and getting a ground view of the layout!!  Aiden is a character!!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Back from vacation and back to work

     Norm and his wife Betsy and my wife Ellen and myself went on a three week vacation to the New England states and into Canada.  We toured the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY and visited the King Arthur Flour company (and store) outside Burlington, VT.  Both Norm and I like to bake so we enjoyed walking around and buying a lot at the company store!  From there we went up into Canada and visited Montreal, Quebec City, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.  The highlight, in my opinion, was seeing low tide at Fundy Bay.  They have a daily 50 foot tide swing each day and we were able to walk on the ocean floor during low tide.  After Canada we drove along the coast of Maine and visited some lighthouses and finally stopped in Lancaster, PA on our way home.  It was a long trip but everyone had a good time and a favorite place to see.

     Now that we are back it is time to get back to the train layout.  On the trip I started a new FOS Scale Model called 'Tower Gas'.  I stained the walls and did some initial painting.  The final weathering will be done once the walls are all glued together.

     My grandson Aiden is visiting this weekend so he helped paint some of the parts.

Aiden helping to paint a small roof part

He takes this work very seriously!!

I glued the lower level walls together this morning.  I'm using a metal square to make sure all the corners are square.  This was an issue with my last model so I want to make sure everything lines up correctly this time.

The back wall and left side are glued and set in the background.  The front and right side are being glued using the square for alignment.

Here is the current state of the model.  The four lower level walls are glued together and the three walls for the upper level steeple are glued in place.  The fourth wall for the steeple will go on once the roof is in place.

More to come on this build.....

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Aiden wires the layout

Just a quick post to say that we've started to wire the layout and Aiden was a big help.  Norm was working on track bed and laying cork so Aiden helped me install some bus wires.

We first measured how much of each bus-wire was needed and cut it too length.  We are using 14 gauge wire for the bus wires.  Norm pitched in and held one end and Aiden used a drill to twist the wires together.  A lot easier than twisting the pairs of wires by hand!!

Aiden used a drill to quickly and easily twist wires together

Once we had a bus pair of wires twisted together, Aiden crawled under the layout (he could almost stand!) and put the wires in the plastic clips that we had screwed to the bottom of the layout.

Aiden could almost stand under the layout!

He was a big help because I would have to have crawled under the layout on my hands and knees!

Putting the wires into plastic clips

We have started to lay track so future posts will focus on the track work and installing feeder wires onto the track sections and connecting them to these bus wires.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Readying the Layout for Track

In our most recent work session, we finished laying down the cork roadbed.  Then we sanded it to assure that it was level and free of bumps and any extruded silicone sealant.  We started sanding by hand with a 220 grit block, but found that to be hard going.  So we put a finishing sander to work with 180 grit paper installed.
Sanding the roadbed with the finishing sander was just the trick!
 Once the roadbed was sanded, it was ready for installing track.  We laid out the turnouts in their intended positions, then beginning at an arbitrary point on the layout, began to install track.
The layout with turnouts positioned at their intended locations
We drilled holes in each piece of track and all turnouts to allow nails to be driven through without splitting the rails.  Then we started the process of fitting the rail sections to the turnouts.  We were able to get track laid around about a third of the "outer loop."  We staggered the rails in each section by about four inches so there would be no kinks on the curves.

We've got a long way to go to get the rails fully installed.  We'll pick it up again when we're able to get together for another work session.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

More Roadbed!

As we explained in a previous post, we're using cork for the roadbed, gluing it to the plywood base with brown silicone sealant.  We had traced the planned rail locations using a pounce, or dressmaker's wheel, and then darkened the lines made by the pounce with a marking pen.  Following that, we inserted push pins at the mid-point of the lines, spacing them about every six inches or so.

The yard section of the layout, with push pins marking the centerpoint of the intended rail lines.
Then we laid out the cork against the push pins, cutting it to shape where needed to fit the turnouts.  We pinned the cork into final location to ensure that we had everything cut to fit the way we wanted it. 

A section of cork cut and pinned into location, ready for gluing.  This section will become the logging camp when the layout is finished.
Then, we lifted the cork sections and spread silicone sealant generously in the spot where the roadbed was to lie.  We pressed the roadbed back into position against the pins marking the center of the rail lines and, again using push pins, tacked the roadbed firmly down to the plywood base.

The main line and a passing track with the roadbed glued and pinned into position.
Because the silicone sealant is messy and because it was often easier to smooth it into place by hand, we wore gloves. 

The "hill" section of the layout, with all cork glued into position.  Note the test section of track pinned into position in the foreground.
Neatness didn't count here.  The fact that the silicone was spread around the plywood won't matter once we add scenery later.  We intentionally chose the brown sealant so any of it showing through the seams in the cork would not detract from the earthy appearance of the roadbed.

We laid one section of rail to test our planned method for joining sections on curves.  Since most of our layout is curves, this is especially important for us.  The method we'll be using is to stagger the joints in the rails by about six inches so no two rail ends appear side-by-side.  Although this is somewhat non-traditional, we feel it will make it much easier to avoid kinks in the rail at the point where joins occur.  Our test proved us right.  The fit of the rails when joined by our method was perfect and should lead to no derailments at those points.

The yard section with cork trimmed to fit and pinned into location, ready for gluing to the plywood base.
 In our latest session, we managed to get all the cork fit into final position and glued all of it except the yard portions.  We'll finish those in our next session and then start laying rail.  We're pleased with our progress and excited to see the bare bones of the benchwork taking the shape of an actual railroad layout.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Coal Tipple is done!!

     The Coal Tipple that I have been working on the past few weeks is finally done!  Aiden and I weathered the roof last week using white and light tan chalk.  We added the metal smokestack and applied a rust color to give it an aged, weathered look.  Then we added a rust wash along the roof to simulate rust slowly running down and off the roof.

     The past few days I've applied a diluted India ink wash to the sides of the building.  There is a little more added under the windows to simulate extra weathering from rain running down from the window sills.

     Finally, I painted and weathered the accessories that came with the kit.  This includes truck tires, a wooden barrel, a trash can and a wooden handled broom.  There were also a variety of posters/signs that that came with the kit.  I picked a few and weathered them using some light tan watercolor paint to make the white background paper look old.  I was really amazed by how much realism these accessories added to the tipple.  It really made the whole scene pop!

     Here are a few pictures of the final product: