Saturday, March 29, 2014

Re-Locating Williams Creek: 3

After a long afternoon (and most of the morning) I've got the Williams Creek section in its new home. Obviously the mainline needs some realignment! But at least a favorite scene is back on the layout and not sitting on a shelf!
Wow! That turned out to be a lot harder than I thought but I'm happy to report the Williams Creek bridge scene is securely fastened in place in its new location between Waterbury and Essex Junction. 
Next step - getting the sub roadbed reinstalled and laying the mainline in place. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Re-Locating Williams Creek - 2

Phase 1 of the Williams Creek scene relocation is complete. The first photo (left) shows how the scene looked before I removed the background hills and determined the final location of the Williams Creek "section." 
The shot below shows how the scene looks after the twin mountains were removed. The flextrack shows the approximate location of the mainline realignment. The white paper cut out is the Williams Creek section template. Note this will take up some aisle space. 
I think this arrangement will work, but want to play around with some other mockups first. In any event, the truss bridge has to move for the track geometry to work. A couple of possible approaches:
1. Option A: Place Williams Creek as shown in photo 2 and remove the through truss bridge. Fill in the river scene closest to the camera and add a small industry and perhaps a grade crossing. 
2. Option B: Place Williams Creek where the paper template is shown in Photo 2 and slide the through truss  bridge closer to the fascia and angle it to match the new mainline alignment. At this point the scene has the mainline crossing the same river twice, once on the through truss, the second time on the deck girder Williams Creek bridge. We assume the river bends "off scene." 
3. Option C: Remove the through truss bridge and place the Williams Creek scene in its place. Photo 3 shows the Williams Creek template in position. It's hard to see since it's draped over the truss bridge, but this option doesn't require eating up any additional aisle space. I also think two bridges may be just a "little too much of a good thing."
All these options will allow for 'something' - either a feed mill or a riverside mill building - between the mainline and the backdrop. There may even be room for both. I have good ideas for prototypes for both of these elements. All I know for sure is this area of the layout needs a focal point. 
I'm leaning towards Option C. 
Which would you choose? 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Re-locating Williams Creek - 1

The Williams Creek bridge scene, which has been featured in Model Railroad Hobbyist and appears in the title banner of this blog, became one of the most recognizable scenes on the layout - if for no other reason than it was closest to being the one scene that was "done." So my crew was somewhat surprised when one of the tasks at the last work session was to remove the Williams Creek scene in order to make room for a longer passing track at Randolph. The Williams Creek scene looked like this (right)
after it was removed. Since January it has been sitting somewhat unceremoniously on a shelf in the utility room "awaiting disposition" (to use an old railroad term). 
with the track at Randolph completed, wired and tested it was time to see if I could actually reuse the scene in some other portion of the railroad. The most obvious potential spot was the long section of tangent track on the Essex Junction side of the peninsula. Here's some of the parameters for this project:
1. Although there are some background hills and trees in this area, it's certainly not finished scenery, so I don't mind reworking/removing the scenery in this area. 
2. There is another bridge scene that I've never been terribly pleased with so I have no qualms about removing it to accommodate Williams Creek. 
3. That "other" bridge scene is located in such a way that there was no room to develop anything on either side of it - I might like to add a very small town scene (grade crossing and spur serving one industry) to that area of the layout, so the rebuilding should leave room for that possibility. This means Williams Creek shouldn't be in the same location as the other bridge. 

The first step was locating where the Williams Creek "section" could fit. Since it's too bulky and heavy to slide around on top of the layout (besides, the background hills and trees would be a real problem!) I traced the section full size on a piece of paper, being sure to mark the track centerlines and the approximate position of the river. Using this template I located a spot where the scene drop into place. Looks like it will fit nicely in the area shown above between the edge of the fascia and the spool of green wire. (That "other" bridge scene is just to the left out of the photo). I'm satisfied it will fit, will provide an appealing "out in the country" scene between Waterbury and Essex Junction, and shouldn't be that hard to integrate into the layout…besides, I really don't want to scrap the scene - I've always been pleased with how the water turned out!

Stay tuned…

Window screen material

Bet a picture of a tea bag was the last thing you expected to see on a railroad blog....
A few days ago my good friend Bill Welch was searching for some HO "window screen" material for a pair of ventilated boxcars he's building.
He mentioned using Clover House window screen (basically a very fine mesh) but was not quite satisfied with it. Then he noticed his Bodum French coffee maker had a press part built into the lid with some beautiful very fine wire mesh. He googled "Bodum Replacement Filter Mesh" and was able to order two replacement filters - enough to complete his cars, some cabooses, and likely a few structures as well.
I read Bill's note over a cup of tea yesterday afternoon. Someone had left a box of "designer" tea in the kitchen at the office and I've been enjoying them on a cold afternoon (which we've had in spades lately).
Anyway, I noticed the tea bag had some of the finest mesh I've ever seen. I'd like to add a screen door to a building I've got planned for Waterbury, so I think I'll use this material. Thanks to Bill's note I had the idea in my head to be on the lookout for HO window screen.
I think this stuff would also work for chain link fence in HO, or even N scale. I tried taking a couple of photos with my phone, but they're not the best.  
Besides, the tea isn't all that great. I still prefer Lipton.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Steam Locomotive Colors - 2

In a previous post (here) I offered an opinion that while steam locomotives can be all shades of black, "Grimy Black" - actually a dark gray - is not one of them. 
I got several email replies to that post claiming that the "shiny" engines were from an earlier era - by the late steam era the locomotives were allowed to get dirty and turn "Grimy Black" in color. Another claimed that since the engine I offered as an example was a passenger locomotive (4-8-2 no. 600) she would have been better maintained.
Such would not be true of, say a workaday 2-8-0 on a way freight. 
Here's a shot of M-3-a 2-8-0 no. 454 working the Southern Division local. This was taken in the fall of 1956 - and 454, and all other CV steamers, would be retired within a few months. Hardly something that would be pulling the pride of the line…and again she's weathered but certainly not Grimy Black. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Steam in the Snow at North Conway

I recently was made aware of this video shot in the winter of 2009 on the North Conway Scenic Railroad in North Conway, NH. Very neat shots of some vintage freight equipment and beautiful CN 0-6-0 running through the snow. The freight equipment is restored, but has naturally weathered so it doesn't look like a museum train. And, to complete the illusion, there's a CV van bringing up the markers…if you squint it could be 1954…

Here's a link:

Friday, March 14, 2014

Useful addition to the shop....or paperweight?

I suspect that like many readers of this blog I'm somewhat of a tool-a-holic. I really try to limit my excursions through things like the Micro-Mark catalog (and a bunch of other tool catalogs) to things I'll actually use. But more often than not I'll find something I just have to have. I do have one rule though - I like tools that are of a decent "hobby" quality. (I know enough about milling machines, CNCs, and the like from my time at Intermountain to know I don't need a $20,000 Bridgeport...)
As the layout moves away from the "woodworking" stage I'm looking seriously at a few true modeling projects that are very high on my "bucket" list - building a CV Ten Wheeler is one that leaps to mind, as well as a few other scratchbulding projects.
As I was flipping through the Micro-Mark catalog last night I mentioned to Christine that I'd might, perhaps, maybe, like to get a milling machine someday....
Usually she just rolls her eyes and asks what I'm going to with that, besides hurting myself or perhaps blowing up the house.*
This time she said, "Well, if you really want one and think you'll use it go ahead." In fairness, she's a little bit of the tool-a-holic as well since the next words out of her mouth were "I wonder if I can use it for any jewelry projects????"
So, the questions I pose to you, gentle reader, are simple -
1. Should I pull the trigger and realize the decade plus goal of getting this thing?
2. Any advice on what accessories/bits etc... to get with it?

*In all honesty, I can't conceive a situation where I could blow something up with a milling machine...but where there's a will there's a way... I think she was remembering the cut on Bernie's forehead from his then-new lathe...or the blood stain on our garage floor from the time Bernie dropped a drill on his foot....

Randolph "Signature" Structures

Although the blog has been fairly quiet for the last two weeks, I have been (slowly) making progress on getting the track in place in Randolph. At some point the track will be down, wired, and working and I can run trains again! In the meantime, here are some of the key structures in Randolph that I want to include on the layout.
First and foremost is the station area –
George Dimond photo, courtesy Central Vermont Railway Historical Society Collection.
Perhaps one of the best know structures in Randolph among CV fans and modelers, the Randolph Coal and Ice building, which at the time I'm modeling was the R. B. Osha Co.  
And the old firehouse, which is today the town museum:
These are the few of the “signature” elements” I want to include in my Randolph scene. There are some others which I'll share in future posts. “Stay tuned” for more details as I address modeling each of them. In the meantime, I’ll get back to tracklaying…